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EU Council Refuses To Release ACTA Documents 145

Posted by kdawson
from the mine-mine dept.
CaptSolo writes "The EU Council refuses to release secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement documents, stating that disclosure of this information could impede the proper conduct of the negotiations, would weaken the position of the EU in these negotiations, and might affect relations with the third parties concerned. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure requested these documents last week. FFII's response questions ACTA's secrecy saying: 'The argument that public transparency regarding 'trade negotiations' can be ignored if it would weaken the EU's negotiation position is particularly painful. At which point exactly do negotiations over trade issues become more important than democratic law making? At 200 million euro? At 500 million euro? At 1 billion euro? What is the price of our democracy?'"
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EU Council Refuses To Release ACTA Documents

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  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:00AM (#25716369) Journal

    weaken the position of the EU in these negotiations

    For the sake of government transparency, I say it's worth it.

    might affect relations with the third parties concerned

    For the worst, I hope.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:07AM (#25716415)

    It's closed-door rulemaking the old-fashioned way.

    Democratic nations should be petitioning against the negotiations and attempting to recall council member representatives on that basis.

    Before it's too late...

    • by frietbsd (943773)

      It's closed-door rulemaking the old-fashioned way.

      Democratic nations should be petitioning against the negotiations and attempting to recall council member representatives on that basis.

      Before it's too late...

      it is democratic as long as the people doing the negociations are democraticly elected. That is called representative democracy. "We the people" can punish the leaders if they f- up by not re-electing them.

      Doing this behind closed doors makes it quicker and i have complete faith that it will either be published or leaked to the public otherwise when the negotiations are over.

      In the Netherlands (where i live), it is common that after elections they start coalitiontalks behind closed doors, But every tim

      • by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebeNO@SPAMelis.ugent.be> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:50AM (#25718251) Homepage

        it is democratic as long as the people doing the negociations are democraticly elected. That is called representative democracy. "We the people" can punish the leaders if they f- up by not re-electing them.

        No, that's not how the Dutch or other European democracies work. We have a system whereby you have a government and a parliament (with one or two chambers). While both the people in parliament and in the government are democratically elected, the job of the parliament is to scrutinise the government. It's all part of the checks and balances.

        The problem with the ACTA is that the national parliaments have no access whatsoever to the texts under negotiation, and hence are unable to perform their jobs as representatives of the other citizens.

        It is this leaking that shifts the balance away from the electoral result, So actually i believe that leaking does more harm to the democratic process than the fact that they do it behind closed doors.

        That's only true if you believe that a representative democracy means that you "cast your vote and then forget about everything". That's a very naive and unrealistic view. Voting is only a part (but an important one) of what is necessary to make a representative democracy work.

        Constant scrutiny and input from the general public is desirable and I dare say required to keep things functioning properly. After all, the people in government and parliament are not supposed to and cannot rule from an ivory tower, just decreeing what is "best for the populace", without any external input.

        They are elected to represent us, but that does not mean that from that point on they will automatically always possess all necessary knowledge to decide about anything that matters. They regularly have to inform themselves about topics they don't know everything about.

        So how should they inform themselves? By looking at studies and talking to experts. Studies are written by people and experts are also people. Inevitably, you are going to get some bias. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that they get input from an as broad as possible group of people so that they get an as complete as possible picture (rather than just the picture that one or other special interest group wants them to see).

        Hence, public scrutiny and awareness about what is going on is of paramount importance to avoid lock-ins by special interest groups. That doesn't mean it is easy to avoid this, but it is a necessary precondition.

        The European Court of Justice recently still stressed the importance of openness in law making in its ruling in the Turco case [europa.eu]:

        Openness in that respect contributes to strengthening democracy by allowing citizens to scrutinize all the information which has formed the basis of a legislative act. The possibility for citizens to find out the considerations underpinning legislative action is a precondition for the effective exercise of their democratic rights.

      • by theaveng (1243528)

        >>>Doing this behind closed doors makes it quicker and i have complete faith that it will either be published or leaked

        That is how the U.S. TYRANT...ooops, PATRIOT ACT came into being. And now even though we removed Bush from office and ~1/3 of the Republican Congresscritters, we still have to deal with the wire-tapping and other annoyances of that act.

        If the act had been done in *open* session instead of hidden, maybe it could have been stopped before it passed. Same applies to the E.U. negotiat

  • I Know!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat (756137)

    We can just ask President-Elect Obama to publish it after he gets sworn in! He's all about "Change", right?

    Right?

    -Strat

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TitusC3v5 (608284)
      Except that he's president-elect of America, which, last time I checked, wasn't a member of the EU. Besides, hopefully his Change mantra will include the US not strong-arming other nations into doing what we want.
      • ACTA is an American/EU trade agreement. He'll have access to it.
        • by gwait (179005)

          Canada is also a part of this RIAA farce.
          This is big media taking the biggest stance yet against the free flow of information on the internet.
          This benefits big business, not voters, nor likely the artists as history shows.

          How best to make this stuff public? Hopefully someone will get a copy out to wikileaks.
          Also perhaps a list of politicians who are directly (or indirectly?) involved in this deal should be published to shame them into coming clean..

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Elektroschock (659467)

            Yes, and Parliaments cannot see what is negotiated there, they don't even know the precise mandate of the Government to conclude this agreement and Eu bureaucrats admit that the objective is to impose IP enforcement regulation on "trade partners". According to EU officials part of it are civil and criminal sanctions for IPR enforcement and internet content filtering. The directive for criminal sanctions is currently stalled in the EU-Council because the EU level has no competence for that and the proposed m

        • They probably discussed it on the telephone. He'll have access to it.

          There, fixed that for you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BlueStrat (756137)

        Except that he's president-elect of America, which, last time I checked, wasn't a member of the EU.

        Last I checked, America was also involved in the ACTA negotiations. Wouldn't the US State Department have copies of such an agreement he could release if he so chose? As a matter of fact, isn't America one of the biggest, if not *the* biggest, proponent of some of the most egregious and draconian parts of this agreement? Could he not instruct the US State Department to change terms that the US put in?

        Besides,

        • by jlarocco (851450)

          I really do hope he does live up to his campaign rhetoric and promises about being a different sort of politician that truly believes in a more open, compassionate government and doesn't pander to corporate lobbyists.

          LOL! Obama has been pandering to corporate lobbyists for his entire career. He didn't live up to the rhetoric and promises during his campaign, why would he start now?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        "hopefully his Change mantra will include the US not strong-arming other nations into doing what we want."

        holy FUCK are you naive little man.

  • Sometimes, I think that the people who make mistakes under such circumstances should be held responsible for several *Generations*.

    I bet *that* would make openness more attractive.

    GrpA

  • uh oh.... (Score:1, Troll)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023)
    Hey Europe,

    Remember when you modded me a troll for opining that socialism is incompatible with liberty and democratic ideals?

    I think you said something to the effect that "Here in Europe we are all kinds of socialist, and it rules!" (I'm paraphrasing).

    This is one of those little symptoms. Oh...and laws restricting free-speech....that's one too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ah? You mean that the US have published the documents? Please link or just shut up with your idiotic comments regarding Europe. Thanks

      • by eiapoce (1049910)

        The US are about free speech and obviously not free information.

        The EU has been providing us with a shameless history of traisons against the people: Take as a expample the scam called "lisbon treaty" that was much indeed the exact copy the rejected constitution, only written in a way noone was able to understand and as a treaty in order to avoid any referendum.

        No surprise that both powers are doing things in secret, probably they are planning to hurt their own people, once again.

        • by Candid88 (1292486)

          Except that the Lisbon treay is a treay and the EU constitution was a constitution. There's a pretty big difference, you know.

          Treaties, like most legal documents, are always difficult to read. They have to be, as "easy to read" almost always equates to "vague" - not something you want in law!

          Try reading the original Treaty of Maastricht if you want a challlenging document. That little bueaty is the source of many 2nd year law students' nightmares.

          • by eiapoce (1049910)

            NO WAY.

            Get some information before you relay the official LIES from the european commission. The lisbon arrangments should be called out loud "Lisbon Traison"

            This is what they don't want you to know http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kr0Foq3CQE [youtube.com] or maybe you already know and are just a laque of the European commission...

            • by Candid88 (1292486)

              "or maybe you already know and are just a laque of the European commission..."

              Although I'm not quite sure what a 'laque' is, you should know that the immediate presumption that anyone who disputes your cries of conspiracy, is involved in the conspiracy; is a common sign of paranoid skyzophrenia.

              The fact remains though: ones a treay, ones a constitution. The difference is pretty obvious.

              • by sproot (1029676)

                Although I'm not quite sure what a 'laque' is

                I suspect it's similar to a lackey [wikipedia.org]

              • by SkunkPussy (85271)

                If you take a constitution and call it a treaty, is it a treaty or a constitution?

                • by theaveng (1243528)

                  Since they are BOTH contracts (between the State Legislatures/Parliaments), I don't think it matters what you call it. The only fundamental difference is that a Constitution operates as the Supreme Law which overrides all other laws..... however a properly written treaty can have the exact-same effect.

                  • by theaveng (1243528)

                    P.S.

                    The EU Constitution adoption process was handled poorly IMHO. It probably would have passed if they had followed the model used for the U.S. Constitution's adoption. Although some member states rejected it, enough votes were collected (9 out of 13) to give it power. Those states that rejected it changed their minds when they realized the circumstances (standing alone is not a good place to be).

                    The same would have happened within the E.U. if ~70% (18 out of 25) of the States had agreed to adopt th

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's Australia that have been the most forthcoming with information about ACTA... not the US, Europe, Canada or New Zealand. This is not socialist vs capitalist -- it's more complex than that.

      • Not when progressives need a strawman (facism) or conservatives need one (tax-and-spend liberals). It's harder to blindly hate if you take time to understand complex situations. Far easier to "cast" the opponent into a pre-defined hate-worthy role. That's why we see all this copy-pasta blaming something in a way that makes no sense at all.

      • As if. It's "open" here as long as you have the right spiel. We're just as pissed off about it here as anywhere. Though, here I was pissed off at the US trade dept, not realising the EU were 'as bad', so I can see where your confusion originates. .. and remember the whole net-censoring fiasco we have right now?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TapeCutter (624760)
      You were modded troll by a continent?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gwait (179005)

      Whoa dude,

      By all accounts the US are the instigaters of this ACTA nonsense, instigated under a Republican administration.

      Trade reps have been bullying and bribing the Canadian government for a couple of years to get our Lilly livered conservatives to try to pass a "made in Canada" DMCA that makes the US DMCA look like a good idea. (Bill C-61)

      It went away when the Canadian Conservative party called an election this fall, but now that's done with, it's expected to come back with a vengeance.

      This ACTA thing se

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      A copyright treaty in favour of the corporations to the detriment of the workers is... socialist? Wow.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:33AM (#25716591) Journal

    All your rights are belong to us.

    Somebody set up us the bomb (and the people actually voted for them!)

    You have no chance to survive make your time. Ha ha ha ha ....

    • by nxsty (942984)
      and the people actually voted for them!

      Actually we didn't vote for the people in the European Commission. EU is not a democracy. So whatever they do, we have no way of holding them accountable.
      • by Halo1 (136547)

        The main people negotiating about the ACTA are not the Commission, but the EU Council of Minister (which consists of ministers from the member states). And it is these ministers that refuse to inform their national parliaments of what the hell they are actually negotiating about.

        So while it is easy to blame everything on the EU, in this case it's actually the national governments that are to blame. And a single national parliament should be able to derail this whole farce by requiring its government to disc

        • by ijakings (982830)

          Unfortunately it wont be the UK, Gordon Brown is the most spineless man ive seen in that office. He just cant make decisions on anything without thinking about it all year. Then goes back on those decisions more times than I can count.

          Ill probably get modded flamebait for this but if so in this case flamebait=truth.

    • by n3tcat (664243)
      Oh NOW it makes total sense!
  • I'm confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malevolent Tester (1201209) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:45AM (#25716651) Journal

    democratic law making?

    the EU

    Can someone explain the relation, please?

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      It only takes one word: antithesis.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stygianguest (828258)

      Oh stop it. I know it's a popular meme, but it's not much more than that. The european union is a democratic institution and always has been. Yes it has its faults, but it has become more democratic with time. Unlike some other federations that shall remain unnamed, like the USA.

      I'd also argue that the EU has brought more democracy to the world since the 90s than any other state or organisation. The expansion of the EU and the often just the prospect of it, has brought democracy to eastern europe and beyond

      • by Bazer (760541)

        Unlike some other federations that shall remain unnamed, like the US.

        You just had to spell it out, didn't you? By Zeus, it didn't even take you a proper ellipsis to spill the name!

      • Rubbish. The people of Europe were assured that the Lisbon Treaty could not go ahead without unanimous consent from everyone. Then Ireland voted no and they said that, actually, they didn't need unanimous consent and they would go ahead with it anyway. Then they told Ireland to have another referendum to try for the 'right' result.
        This all came about because the citizens of several other EU countries voted no to the constitution so they repackaged it and tried to just ram it through.
        The EU is anti-democr
      • by zmooc (33175)

        The EU does indeed have some democratic aspects. So do Shell and General Motors. Its employees, for example, can democratically decide which brand of coffee comes out of the coffee machine. Does that make them democracies?

        I think even you'd answer "no" to that question. So we can conclude from that that a bit more than some democratic aspects are needed to call something a democracy. In the EU the democratic part is formed by the European Parliament, which is elected by the citizens of the EU. However, this

      • Unlike some other federations that shall remain unnamed, like the USA.

        You said we would remain unnamed!

        You filthy LIAR!!!! *sob* You're not the man I married!!!

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:46AM (#25716657) Homepage

    Priceless.

    When a government decides to have policy and decision making behind closed doors that can/may and probably will impact your day to day life, you can and are moving from a democracy to an oligarchy. Regardless of whether you're electing them or not, the state of affairs on such is the same.

    People in the EU shouldn't be questioning this, they should be up in arms over it, screaming and protesting in the streets over it.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      Here in the US, that would be $250,000. After all comrade, it's patriotic to pay your fair share of taxes.

    • you can and are moving from a democracy to an oligarchy.

      Nah, that would require the EU to be a democracy in the first place, which it most certainly is not [wikipedia.org].

      Rich.

    • by gknoy (899301)

      People in the EU shouldn't be questioning this, they should be up in arms over it....

      I thought most EU countries disallowed citizens having guns? {Aside from stored-at-the-hunting-club type things.} Is "good luck with that" as a response that far off base? I can be wrong, but the overwhelming impression I got was that the European general populace doesn't have arms to be "up in". ... not that I'm much better in the US, heh -- no guns in my house.

      • Well, if enough hard-working European citizens went to their politician's offices and raised their arms, that might help get the point across.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:55AM (#25716697)

    Australia has the same problem. EFA Tried to sue using Freedom of Information laws to get the same info out of the department of foreign affairs and trade. Same response. All the governments are under an NDA on this thing. The USA needs to cleanup this mess because they're the ones forcing the non disclosure clauses. New Zealand also has the same issue.

    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @03:10AM (#25717037)

      Australia has the same problem. EFA Tried to sue using Freedom of Information laws to get the same info out of the department of foreign affairs and trade. Same response. All the governments are under an NDA on this thing. The USA needs to cleanup this mess because they're the ones forcing the non disclosure clauses. New Zealand also has the same issue.

      If nothing else, it serves to remind us that in most countries, the government is a very separate entity to the people... Ironic given the USA mantra "of the people, by the people, for the people." How a government can be under NDA for a policy that affects their country's people in such a broad manner is beyond ridiculous. Perhaps they are concerned that other governments of the world may gain a competitive advantage? Funnily enough, I'd wager that non-signatories most certainly will.

      Sadly, it may be too late for New Zealand. The main sponsor of this act was Minister of Commerce Judith Tizard, who recently lost her office as part of the beaten Labour party in NZ elections, and also lost her electorate as an MP... but nevertheless, the act goes into effect here Feb 28 2009.

      • Feb 29th 2009?

        I wonder where you are getting your dates from. ACTA hasn't been finalised, and the NZ Ministry of Economic Development has stated they will make the decision to join the proposed agreement once the public has commented on the final version.

        MED's ACTA FAQ [med.govt.nz]

        Despite the secrecy surrounding ACTA, the NZ government does have a process that it has to abide by to make ACTA legally binding. Violate any one of those steps, and it could void the enforcement of ACTA in NZ.

        Judith Tizard was hoping

  • You wonder why they hide it? Do you think they act in your interest?
  • by SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:13AM (#25716775)

    In case none of you know, the EU is pretty much a mislabeled dictatorship. Citizens of the EU have pretty much nothing to say about what goes on or who gets "elected" for this or that. Democracy, pah!

    The EU is a very good idea gone horribly wrong. Read me right, I want a united Europe, but not like this. We can vote for people who have get no actual power, yay! We waste money on going from A to B X times a month to not hurt France and Germany's pride, yay! We the people decline on the new "constitution" (what a joke) and they try pushing it through anyways, yay! I could go on, but what's the use...

    All the good ideas get tossed, more (insane) regulation nobody wants gets piled. Media pay no attention to it either. What's going on in EU politics? You wont get it from the telly, the paper, or the generic news sites (though Obama is all over the place)...

    The EU as a government body is a farce in need of some serious fixing, the only problem is some countries have serious ego and other countries actually care.

    Give me the information and my 1/300m'th say in who our new EU overlords are, and I shall welcome them!

    • by cheros (223479)

      You forgot to mention the pork barrel politics [timesonline.co.uk]..

    • by Hordeking (1237940) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @03:02AM (#25717003)

      In case none of you know, the EU is pretty much a mislabeled dictatorship. Citizens of the EU have pretty much nothing to say about what goes on or who gets "elected" for this or that. Democracy, pah!

      The EU is a very good idea gone horribly wrong. Read me right, I want a united Europe, but not like this. We can vote for people who have get no actual power, yay! We waste money on going from A to B X times a month to not hurt France and Germany's pride, yay! We the people decline on the new "constitution" (what a joke) and they try pushing it through anyways, yay! I could go on, but what's the use...

      All the good ideas get tossed, more (insane) regulation nobody wants gets piled. Media pay no attention to it either. What's going on in EU politics? You wont get it from the telly, the paper, or the generic news sites (though Obama is all over the place)...

      The EU as a government body is a farce in need of some serious fixing, the only problem is some countries have serious ego and other countries actually care.

      Give me the information and my 1/300m'th say in who our new EU overlords are, and I shall welcome them!

      What? Did I hear you whining about the EU? We've been putting up with that sort of crap since at least 1850. It started a war in 1861. The US Federal Government really took advantage of having fewer states to ratify constitutional amendments (well, they had claimed they had suceeded, and the Federal Gov't claimed they hadn't, but didn't include them in the ratification process anyway) and pass all sorts of terrible laws. Have you ever wondered why there's a negative stereotype of the US South?

      What's that? I hear you whining about more laws that noone actually wants? May I present to you Franklin Rooseveldt, who got his New Deal to stick even though it was unconstitutional, by threatening to stack the supreme court in his favor. We're still hurting from that one, with an overburdened social security system that I pay into, but will probably be bankrupt when I get to retirement age. Let me present to you one Lyndon Baines Johnson, who intensified that problem, by creating even more entitlements. Furthermore, let me present to you the current crisis, which resulted in $700*10^9 (THAT'S A LOT OF NUTS!) to save corporate investors and debt-owners from their own greed. Let me point out that I didn't get a whole lot of say in that one, and I tried to clearly communicate it to my elected officials.

      What's that? I hear you complaining about a lack of power? At least you have more control over your own little area. Our Federal government seems to be able to override a lot of things at the state level (let me be the first to point out that technically, the states were considered the supreme component, holding much the same status as the countries comprising the EU today.) Haven't you noticed that we always end up with one Republican and one Democrat in nearly all elections that win 49% and 50% of the vote? Have you further noticed that most of the time, their policies, despite how they are package, vary rather little from each other?

      Maybe you should concentrate on making the EU a better place, looking at the US as an example of what not to do (and some examples of good ideas, lest I forget the extremely simple Constitution, simple enough that even a child can generally understand it). Maybe if you can make the EU a freer place, I'll want to move to one of the countries there. As it is now, The EU and US are going the direction of having telescreens on everyone's wall.

      • by againjj (1132651)

        What? Did I hear you whining about the EU? We've been putting up with that sort of crap since at least 1850. It started a war in 1861. The US Federal Government really took advantage of having fewer states to ratify constitutional amendments (well, they had claimed they had suceeded, and the Federal Gov't claimed they hadn't, but didn't include them in the ratification process anyway) and pass all sorts of terrible laws. Have you ever wondered why there's a negative stereotype of the US South?

        Actually, they did include the southern states. They just coerced the states to ratify the amendments. See wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

    • by hughk (248126) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @03:17AM (#25717063) Journal

      Note that the problem with the EU comes down to national governments not wanting to cede power. The council is composed of the leaders of the respective governments whilst the commission is headed up by appointees of those governments. The parliament is democratically elected but has insufficient power. The trade commissioner responsible for ACTA (it was one of his "successes") was Mandelson and we know how he has always had his links with business and the media.

      The role of British media should also be examined as they love to misrepresent regulations out of context whilst forgetting to inform people about useful things like the matching regional development aid. It seems that the UK has been somewhat inefficient at applying for grants that other countries, i.e., Ireland have done very well out of.

      Please remember that the EU has relevance here tro slashdot, given the support for open formats and open source software and the reverse engineering directive which gives rights that are simply not available in the US.

    • by BillyGee (981263)
      Completely agree with you, but 1 question - why do you want to be able to have the voting power of 2.4 EU citizens? (EU has 728 million, not 300 million+ people like the US)
    • There is plenty of wrong going on in Europe, but it is also a major factor in stopping stupidity in member countries. The European Parliament stood in the way of the Sarkonazy's three strike bullshit. The commission forced phone line unbundling which resulted in rapid broadband development. And so on and so forth, in many other areas as well.

    • In case none of you know, the EU is pretty much a mislabeled dictatorship. Citizens of the EU have pretty much nothing to say about what goes on or who gets "elected" for this or that. Democracy, pah!

      Eu is not the perfect democracy, we agree on this part. But saying it's a dictatorship where "Citizens [...]have pretty much nothing to say about [...] who gets "elected"", this is not true. The two legislative chambers are :

      • The Council of the European Union, composed by the ministers of all EU countries. T
      • Thanks for the info. I don't think the EU is all bad actually, but often when I hear about something going on in the EU my only thought is "FFS, why?!".

        As to the council, they are elected by people I didn't vote for. I don't know what it is like where you're from, but where I'm from the government is generally made up of fear-mongering bullying fairy-tale believers (yeah, I mean you, religious nuts), and the people with actual common sense who really want to deal with the problems (instead of say, ignoring

  • Ok. The EU doesn't want to reveal the documents that appear to have some sort of direct impact on me. So, wouldn't that amount to a secret law of some kind? Ignorance of the law is no excuse, with the exception that the law was intentionally hidden. In other words, a rather pointless law, unless you're trying to write yourself some sort of blank check. Then you're no better off than Soviet Russia or Mao Mao's China.

    The EU won't release the paperwork? Well, the simplest solution is "Better the devil I know
    • The EU doesn't want to reveal the documents that appear to have some sort of direct impact on me. So, wouldn't that amount to a secret law of some kind?

      No, it would not.

      You have failed to distinguish between an unratified treaty and a ratified treaty. They are negotiating the unratified treaty. It won't apply to you until it becomes a ratified treaty

      If it actually starts down the path to ratification, it will not be secret. For example, in the EU, it will have to be submitted to the legislative bodies f

      • The EU doesn't want to reveal the documents that appear to have some sort of direct impact on me. So, wouldn't that amount to a secret law of some kind?

        No, it would not.

        You have failed to distinguish between an unratified treaty and a ratified treaty. They are negotiating the unratified treaty. It won't apply to you until it becomes a ratified treaty

        If it actually starts down the path to ratification, it will not be secret. For example, in the EU, it will have to be submitted to the legislative bodies for approval. In the US, it has to be submitted to the Senate and receive a 2/3 vote and then be signed by the President. I don't know offhand how other counties deal with ratifying treaties--I'm sure you can find out if you look.

        Well, I don't think I want the treaty ratified if it applies something to me that I don't like. And of course, if its unratified, and I don't know what's in it (how could it hurt me, potentially), then I'd rather it stay unratified, rather than applying to me.

  • by vik (17857) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @03:46AM (#25717225) Homepage Journal

    The EU is not alone. Here in New Zealand we're trying to find out what is in the ACTA and the word is we'll be told when they're ready to vote on it.

    Meanwhile you have to wonder who this information is being kept secret from, since all the governments it'll affect already have a copy.

    Vik :v)

  • Frankly, if Obama can't pull the U.S. out of its slide into authoritarianism, I don't know what can.  And then the EU and us are both screwed.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:55AM (#25717921) Homepage

    Government and the Business interests that pay them are the first parties. The Third Parties are The Public. When you realize that is their actual meaning, it all makes sense because ultimately, when we find out what they are trying to do, the public outcry will weaken their position as they are negotiating all of our rights away.

  • That's it. Sign, read afterwards. Not my words.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kr0Foq3CQE [youtube.com]

  • This "Secret Politics" stuff needs to go away.

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins

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