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EU Privacy Chief Says ACTA Violates European Law 136

Posted by kdawson
from the ain't-nobody's-business-if-i-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has issued a 20-page opinion expressing concern about ACTA (PDF). Michael Geist's summary of the opinion notes that it concludes that the prospect of a three-strikes and you're out system may violate European privacy law, that the possibility of cross-border enforcement raises serious privacy issues, and that ACTA transparency is needed now."
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EU Privacy Chief Says ACTA Violates European Law

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  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:14AM (#31243414)

    One of the points he makes, which is a good one, is that data-sharing for enforcement purposes among countries that have different criminal punishments for copyright law is hard to justify. It also makes me wonder if--for example--I live in a country with fair use and a country with more stringent fair use policies wants to go after me for copyright infringement... well, you see the issues. Will the country with the most stringent policies suddenly be the equivalent of the patent troll district in Texas?

    • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:21AM (#31243484) Journal

      Will the country with the most stringent policies suddenly be the equivalent of the patent troll district in Texas?

      They already are. That is why they came up with ACTA in the first place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MartinSchou (1360093)

        Will the country with the most stringent policies suddenly be the equivalent of the patent troll district in Texas?

        They already are. That is why they came up with ACTA in the first place.

        You forgot to add, that the ACTA is designed to make every country behave like That Texas District [wikipedia.org].

      • by Builder (103701)

        Love the sig... Ties nicely to the username :D

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Don't worry, someone who makes sense like him will be promptly removed from office.
    • by El Jynx (548908) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:48AM (#31243710)
      Good point. I certainly hope not. Copyright is already problematic in that copying is built into nature, so going against it is swimming upriver - they're better off going with either a pledge-money-for-band-X's-new-album system or else lowering prices so far that downloading illegally just doesn't make sense anymore (especially if you can get it automatically sorted into the right folders with ID3 tags just they way you want 'em). Lower prices to 10c / song and I'll immediately spend $200. Add the right to re-download whenever you want and you've got a business model. Although on a practical note, there's no reason bands can't do tat themselves. There's plenty of platforms available for it.

      On the side: There's a Facebook group I started in the hope to raise awareness, with the ultimate goal being to petition / lobby governments. Feel free to join, it's called We need 5m people to prevent the labels killing internet freedom with ACTA.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Although on a practical note, there's no reason bands can't do tat themselves. There's plenty of platforms available for it.

        And that's exactly the reason you'll never see anything like this happen by the big studios. Offering this business model poses the (quite real) threat that it just might work out. And then even the dimmest bands can easily see that there is zero reason to dump the lion's share of their revenue down the mouth of the studios.

      • by Proteus Child (535173) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @10:20AM (#31244034) Homepage

        On the side: There's a Facebook group I started in the hope to raise awareness, with the ultimate goal being to petition / lobby governments. Feel free to join, it's called We need 5m people to prevent the labels killing internet freedom with ACTA.

        That's great. How do you propose we go about it? Just sitting around in a Facebook group bitching won't accomplish anything.

        Who do we write to? Who do we call? What are they in charge of? What power (realistically) do they have over the situation? Do we tell them that we back them, or that we're against their support of ACTA?

        We need actionable information, or pointers to where we can find it. Anyone know where to start?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          If I recall correctly, currently the US Trade Representative [wikipedia.org] is acting as the United States representative* to the ACTA talks (officially). That said, you can find the office of the US Trade Rep here [ustr.gov]. Currently, the man serving on that post is Ron Kirk [wikipedia.org]. You can find contact information for the USTR here [ustr.gov]. A further Google search for, "US ACTA representative," turns up these results [google.com], the first of which appears to be a boingboing site requesting public input regarding ACTA (I cannot confirm this as I cannot ac
          • by consonant (896763)

            *: I am making the assumption that you are a United States citizen. This, of course, is based on absolutely no facts, as you have revealed nothing regarding your nationality. If you are not from the US, you can still probably use Google and Wikipedia to do your own search regarding your ACTA representatives. Say what you will that such an assumption is based on hedonism and/or nationalism, but I have nothing better to go off as you have revealed no information regarding the country of your residence/origin.

      • We need 5m people to prevent the labels killing internet freedom with ACTA.

        With 5m members willing to vote, you could get more seats in European Parliament than Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, and the Green Party combined [wikipedia.org] Many more than the Conservatives hold by themselves, and the same as Labour and Conservative together.

        I believe you with your 5m people making a difference, but a facebook group isn't the way. Get voters.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        The EU seems to be acting a lot like early America IMO - highly resistant to interstate power sharing. Give 'em a couple of hundred years and the bad guys will beat 'em down to as bad as the States or worse.

        As for bands handling copyright infringement themselves, a major problem for the labels is that a lot of bands simply don't care or actually like it. You've heard of big bands like Metallica going off and suing people, but how often do you see indie bands with a few thousand fans doing it? Most of the gu

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Lower prices to 10c / song and I'll immediately spend $200.

        I never did understand the logic of that. What is it that would encourage you to spend $200 for 2000 somethings that you don't need, when you wouldn't spend the $200 for one of those things that you don't need.

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:51AM (#31243734) Journal

      >>>data-sharing for enforcement purposes among countries that have different criminal punishments for copyright law is hard to justify

      Not really. The U.S. member states constantly share information across borders and it's justified as "being tough on crooks". The EU member states will likely do the same, if not now, then in the near future.

      What I'm surprised he did not address is the violation of the Right to a trial by your peers (jury). The 3-strike law presumes guilt without any requirement that the state prove its case FIRST. Although this may sound harmless, I can easily imagine the state government, or a progressive leader, using the 3-strike law to silence bloggers/reporters he doesn't like by making false 3-strike claims. In such a case the connection gets cut automatically (presumed guilt), the blogger is silenced, and the leader smiles.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        [quote]What I'm surprised he did not address is the violation of the Right to a trial by your peers (jury).[/quote]

        That is because such a (ridiculous) thing does not exist in most European countries. See the Wikipedia entry on Civil Law [wikipedia.org].

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @12:10PM (#31245310) Journal

          >>>That is because such a (ridiculous) thing does not exist in most European countries. See the Wikipedia entry on Civil Law.

          A wise man once said, "People may think you are stupid. Don't open you mouth and prove them right." First off, it's not ridiculous to have a trial by your peers, since it is your peers that have the power to block the government from acting unjustly. Second, a 3-strike law where the *government* disconnects the internet as *punishment* would be CRIMINAL law not civil. And finally the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights does not have a right of trial by your peers, but it does still have the right to a trial:

          Article 47 - Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial
          Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right toan effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article. Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law. Everyone shall have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented. Legal aid shall be made available to those who lack sufficient resources in so far as such aid is necessary to ensure effective access to justice.

          Article 48 - Presumption of innocence and right of defence
          1. Everyone who has been charged shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to
          law. 2. Respect for the rights of the defence of anyone who has been charged shall be guaranteed.

          Receiving punishment (your internet cut off) without trial violates article 47. It also violates article 48 because it presumes guilt without the government having to prove its case.

          • by s73v3r (963317)
            Depends on how its brought. In most countries, copyright violation is treated as a civil matter, and so the 3-strikes penalty would be a civil punishment.
            • It may be civil now, but the proposed ACTA guidelines call for criminal enforcement with prison terms. think about it prison terms for downloading some crappy song. And if that's not bad/absurd enough, it takes all the burden off the media cartel and puts the cost squarely on our backs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EzInKy (115248)


        Not really. The U.S. member states constantly share information across borders and it's justified as "being tough on crooks".

        Like how we manipulated Mexico and Central America to be our battlegrounds in our "War On Drugs?" Smooth move! One would think Europeans would be too smart to fall for this though.

        • No, GP is talking about how Texas and Louisiana share information, for instance. The U.S. "manipulation" of Mexico and Central America is a different issue entirely.
      • by rsborg (111459)

        I can easily imagine the state government, or a progressive leader, using the 3-strike law to silence bloggers/reporters he doesn't like by making false 3-strike claims.

        [Emphasis mine] Why'd you have to go and smear progressives? You could have easily made your point by saying "corrupt" or "dictatorial". You do your other valid points in your post a disservice with your partisan flamebait.

        • Because Progressives are anti-Constitutionalists, and anti-Bill of Rights (especially amendments 9 and 10). I consider them to be completely incompatible with my view that the Constitution exists to shackle the government from turning tyrannical. I consider anti-constitutionalists an enemy of the people.

          And those who say, "No Progressives are not anti-constitution or anti-bill of rights," clearly don't understand the party they are a member of (or support). They trample over the People's Constitution as

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by flyneye (84093)

      Further, if any U.N. police show up on my doorstep or anyone representing the laws of another country for the purpose of enforcement, they will leave horizontally. Any legislation leading to this event make its practitioners subject to revolt as implied by second amendment rights. This ACTA bullshit is not very well thought out.
      With the antics brought about in this 4 years, I predict the next major election will be quite disappointing for both Democrat and Republican part

      • by Daengbo (523424)

        You aren't by chance a pilot from Austin, TX, are you? ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by donaggie03 (769758)
        Unfortunately, it will probably be your local police showing up at your doorstep, enforcing your own country's laws. That law being to comply with another country's laws. . .
        • by flyneye (84093)

          Yes unfortunate for local police enforcing another countries laws with illegal legislation from our own. See above about revolt.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:15AM (#31243424) Journal
    So after reading a bit of his "opinion" piece (written way more formally than any opinion piece I've read), it seems that without reading the full extent of ACTA he is dead set against it. Any aspect he has heard of (most likely through Doctorow or Geist) he makes a case for it being a violation of privacy. Without even reading all of it, he knows it's illegal. His title sounds like he should have been invited to these proceedings but I think I can decipher why he wasn't invited ...

    I agree with him but it sounds like he would be opposed to anything they could dream up. And maybe that's the way it should be ... maybe privacy and international IP/copyright enforcement are inseparable. Not being an expert, I cannot say. I am fairly certain, however, that each country has to pass this into law once the countries agree on a basis. I will say that my representative and senators had better damn well represent the majority of the population and I hope that majority is with me on this. What the EDPS should do is continue to demand transparency but also get the citizens and all the members of the EU to promise not to pass this into legislation without transparency right now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by halcyon1234 (834388)

      His title sounds like he should have been invited to these proceedings but I think I can decipher why he wasn't invited ...

      His title? "Data Protection Supervisor"? Give me a break. Unless you're a Czar, you aren't qualified to weigh in on these things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Ah, whatever the majority wants. Wanna lynch a few pesky minorities too, while you're at it?

      I could care less about what the majority wants. Simply put ACTA is a political scam, like everything else politics, and he damn well has every right to be dead-set against whatever they're doing because it sure as hell isn't going to be good. The fact that it's behind closed doors should tell you that much.

      • by M-RES (653754) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:41AM (#31243652)

        I could care less about what the majority wants.

        You COULD? Personally I COULDN'T care less... I wonder why you care so much about the majority? ;p

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I could care less about what the majority wants, because I care a lot. I'm strictly for democracy and against totalitarianism, even if I were the one elected dictator.

          I think there should be another layer legislation has to go through -- when the Prez signs a bill it becommes a referendum, and must be voted for by over 50% of the population before it becomes law.

          • Cut out the middlemen then. Let someone write a bill and submit it to the white house for immediate addition to the next election's ballot as a referendum.
    • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:44AM (#31243668)

      But this is the problem. We've got these top secret negotations that are clearly secret, because there will be massive opposition to them, (else there'd be no reason to keep them secret) and the hope is that they can slip these laws into each country without the populace even noticing. If even half the law makers aren't party to the negotiations they can only go by what is available.

      These sorts of laws like 3-strikes really do breach the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also specifically in terms of the right to fair trial, and the reasonable right to privacy. Further, most countries have laws derived from the Geneva convention to govern related and similar civil matters, such as to protect against collective punishment, which is a war crime under the Geneva convention- cutting off internet access to a household for the action of one clearly also breaches this.

      So we've got this situation where governments are trying to pass these laws regardless, even though they are clearly in conflict with existing, more fundamental laws. In Europe, this has happened repeatedly this last decade with the likes of the British government's DNA database storing DNA of the innocent and so forth, and the end result is always the same - the law gets deemed illegal in itself by the European Court of Human Rights and change has to happen, or governments will face penalty, but in the meantime it is citizens who have to deal with all the shit.

      So regardless of whether this guy is right or wrong, it doesn't really matter, he's making comments based on what he does know, and that's really key, because if at least he can make the point heard that it's about time they start thinking of the consequences and repercussions of the laws, and whether they are legal BEFORE they implement them, then that's a good thing. I don't however, hold much faith, because those passing such laws seem to do so on the hope that no one will notice said laws have been passed- but we do notice, because we're the ones they potentially effect.

      Good on him for making the point regardless, they need to know that we are listening, we do know about it, and that these laws will end up just being shot down by the courts anyway.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:59AM (#31243818) Journal

        But this is the problem. We've got these top secret negotations that are clearly secret, because there will be massive opposition to them, (else there'd be no reason to keep them secret)

        I don't quite agree with you there. People have all sorts of different reasons for keeping legislation secret until it is proposed ranging from strategically hiding it from your opposition thereby reducing their reaction time to simply not having a solid foundation built yet. If you've got a shaky idea of what all the players want out of this deal, you shouldn't be publishing the initial draft of the documentation. This leads to confusion and gives opponents fodder. Let's say the countries that came to the table eventually reject the international three strikes rule but later have problems passing a better version of ACTA that actually tries to achieve a solution without invading privacy. Even the opinion piece acknowledges a need for a solution:

        The EDPS acknowledges that the cross-border trade in counterfeit and pirate goods is a growing concern that often involves organized criminal networks, which calls for the adoption of appropriate cooperation mechanisms at international level in order to fight against this form of criminality.

        No matter how good that amended solution may be, you and I aren't going to care. We're only going to remember the stories on Slashdot and know that ACTA = EVIL. So with this early exposure, the thing is dead before it can be reformed and amended.

        On top of that, how do you get all the big players to the table if the documentation is floating around that angers the hell out of their constituents. "If so and so goes to that summit, I'm never voting for her/him again" is what one might say.

        I mean, the leaked documentation is damning but you have to consider that bills proposed here in the USA always have flaws that get worked over and over before it's passed. To claim otherwise is a bit disingenuous.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @10:26AM (#31244120)

          I have to disagree with you in this:

          People have all sorts of different reasons for keeping legislation secret until it is proposed ranging from strategically hiding it from your opposition thereby reducing their reaction time to simply not having a solid foundation built yet. If you've got a shaky idea of what all the players want out of this deal, you shouldn't be publishing the initial draft of the documentation. This leads to confusion and gives opponents fodder. Let's say the countries that came to the table eventually reject the international three strikes rule but later have problems passing a better version of ACTA that actually tries to achieve a solution without invading privacy.

          That's exacty what corrupts democracy from an open discussion of ideas towards a power game more akin to chess playing. Entertaining, but missing the point.

          One of the pieces of US legislation I'm most envious of, as an European is FOIA (the time span should be considerably shorter, but over here, governments are free to keep things secret forever).

          Keep politics and admin honest by making known as much as possible as early as possible.

          • by Tim C (15259)

            One of the pieces of US legislation I'm most envious of, as an European is FOIA (the time span should be considerably shorter, but over here, governments are free to keep things secret forever).

            That's not entirely true; the UK is both a member state and has a Freedom of Information Act, though I confess I've neither read ours nor the US one, so can't compare the two. More details on the UK one are available on the OPSI website [opsi.gov.uk].

            • Laws similar to the FOIA are not uncommon among member states though unfortunately it is not universal and I don't think there is something like that on the EU level.

          • I have to disagree with you in this:

            People have all sorts of different reasons for keeping legislation secret until it is proposed ranging from strategically hiding it from your opposition thereby reducing their reaction time to simply not having a solid foundation built yet. If you've got a shaky idea of what all the players want out of this deal, you shouldn't be publishing the initial draft of the documentation. This leads to confusion and gives opponents fodder. Let's say the countries that came to the table eventually reject the international three strikes rule but later have problems passing a better version of ACTA that actually tries to achieve a solution without invading privacy.

            That's exacty what corrupts democracy from an open discussion of ideas towards a power game more akin to chess playing. Entertaining, but missing the point.

            It's also exactly a precurse for how 13 former British colonies came to an agreement to form articles of confederation, resulting in 13 democratic Republics. /Devil's Advocate/

        • by blackchiney (556583) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @10:28AM (#31244144)
          You could be correct. But what has come out of the meetings so far isn't very promising. Leaders are reluctant to share it with constituents because they know they could never pass it in its current form. If you want to see how secrecy can topple a legislative process look no further than the US healthcare bill. The much more public House version passed with what most people would be satisfied with. The extra secret Senate version was a travesty. Meetings with healthcare companies, no input from the public (who later on expressed their anger the only way they could by firing these idiots) and here we are today. A bill that cannot pass in its current form because no one likes it. The good news is the WH, senate, have finally realized the healthcare industry doesn't keep you in washington, people that vote do. Ignoring their questions long enough means you'll be out a job soon. ACTA is like that. Other, more meaningful, treaties (like child slavery, sex trafficking) have passed in less time with majority support. If ACTA was so great it wouldn't take half a decade to be in the "discussion" phase. But it's garbage, they know it and they know we know it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Shin-LaC (1333529)

          No matter how good that amended solution may be, you and I aren't going to care. We're only going to remember the stories on Slashdot and know that ACTA = EVIL. So with this early exposure, the thing is dead before it can be reformed and amended.

          Oh, they're just going to change the name once the negotiations are over. Remember Palladium => TCPA => whatever they call it now? And that was just the private industry. These guys are politicians.

        • by Xest (935314)

          "On top of that, how do you get all the big players to the table if the documentation is floating around that angers the hell out of their constituents. "If so and so goes to that summit, I'm never voting for her/him again" is what one might say."

          Well that's the whole point of democracy, if the constituents don't want it, it shouldn't be implemented.

          The premise of your argument relies on the idea that citizens shouldn't necessarily have a say in everything, that opposition shouldn't be party into things unt

        • Yes they have all sorts of reasons to want to keep things secret, unfortunately keeping things secret does not help a democracy. What you describe is pretty much what politicians love to do cook something up in a back room and then shove it past before people have time to think. That is an attempt to stifle the debate again not something desired in a democracy. If politicians are scared to anger the people they represent that's a good thing, it's there role to do what they believe the people they represen

        • It is being done as an executive trade agreement of some kind here in the US, or more accurately the CSA [Corporate States of America]. This has been going on since Bush II. Congressional approval not needed. Any attempt to amend it is expected to be greeted with an "It's all or nothing!" claim. Good luck fixing this fascist wet-dream. What the corporate sultans fail to realize is that it can eventually be used against them, but that is another story.
      • ...laws derived from the Geneva convention to govern related and similar civil matters, such as to protect against collective punishment, which is a war crime under the Geneva convention- cutting off internet access to a household for the action of one clearly also breaches this.

        Didn't we have this discussion recently? Apparently, the Geneva convention only forbids collective punishment within the context of a war, and not in general.

        Collective punishment in a POW camp => forbidden.
        Collective punishment in school (or other non-war related context) => ok.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ArsenneLupin (766289)
          And here [icrc.org] is the text of the forth Geneva convention.

          It is article 33 which forbids collective punishments:

          Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

          Pillage is prohibited.

          Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

          So, who are "protected persons"? Article 4 gives the answer:

          Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those w

        • by Alinabi (464689)
          I think he is thinking of the Berne convention [wikipedia.org], since this discussion is supposed to be about copyright law.
        • by Xest (935314)

          Sorry if my original phrasing wasn't clear- I made the point that it's not the Geneva convention itself that would be applied, but that many countries implement laws which cover points highlighted in the Geneva convention over civil matters. Bringing up the mention of it being a war crime was not intended to suggest that this would be classed as a war crime, merely illustrating the historical recognised severity collective punishment can bring, and hence why quite a few nations have similar law to cover civ

      • by ubercam (1025540)

        Further, most countries have laws derived from the Geneva convention to govern related and similar civil matters, such as to protect against collective punishment, which is a war crime under the Geneva convention- cutting off internet access to a household for the action of one clearly also breaches this.

        Sucks to be the guy who lives alone I guess...

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:55AM (#31243768) Homepage Journal

      it seems that without reading the full extent of ACTA he is dead set against it.

      How is one supposed to read the full extent of a paper that is not only secret but unfinished? How about this:

      1. We are for the legalization of rape
      2. We support the use of undocumented aliens
      3. We support wages of one dollar per hour

      (rest of list redacted)
      How can I be against this list when I've only seen three items?

      If what you see of a list is 100% evil, it is fair to assume that not only is the rest of the list evil, but so are the people writing the list.

      The very fact that MNOs are writing laws for the world's governments puts ME squarely against it, even if they're supporting sunshine and flowers. NOTHING matters to an MNO except profits; they are amoral and nonsocial. They do not care about human rights, only profits, and any politician in any country that supportst this travesty should be voted out of office.

      will say that my representative and senators had better damn well represent the majority of the population and I hope that majority is with me on this.

      I agree completely. But even if the majority of my state's voters are for inhumane copyright legislation, I personally will vote against any politician that votes for it.

      The corporations have too much power; they should have none at all.

      • The very fact that MNOs are writing laws for the world's governments puts ME squarely against it

        Not to be a douche or anything, but what do Mobile Network Operators have to do with this? It's not 3, T-Mobile and Verizon who are writing an ACTA that allows the MPAA and RIAA to rape us all ...

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          MNO = Multi National Organizations. Sorry to have not spelled the acronym out; I blast others for that and here I am doing it myself.

    • by El Jynx (548908) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:56AM (#31243786)
      We SHOULD be against any form of copyright protection on principle. It goes against nature (copying is natural) and hence will require LOADS of energy to enforce - from policy makers, judges, and cops to sysadmins and users. Get rid of it; there's plenty of better ways to get this done. Open source collaboration is one, alternate business models are another. The record companies have already been made superfluous by these developments and they know it, but they're doing their damnedest to become tyrants rather than adjust to life's flux.
    • by EzInKy (115248) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @10:00AM (#31243828)

      Any aspect he has heard of (most likely through Doctorow or Geist) he makes a case for it being a violation of privacy. Without even reading all of it, he knows it's illegal.

      Could you please post a link to all the ACTA documents? If not, all we can assume is it just as bad as the naysayers say.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      He's the data protection head honcho. And as such he is in charge of protecting the private data and privacy of the citizens he took care of. OF COURSE he can only be against anything ACTA represents, since pretty much anything ACTA could do to strengthen copyrights at this point has to invade the privacy of someone. We are already at the point where copyright is as strong as it gets without spying on people.

    • by alecwood (1235578)

      Personally I agree with the guy, and he holds a powerful position within the EU, but in reality it's not that powerful in comparison to the collective interests of the US government, the RIAA, MPAA etc

      Representatives and Senators will keep big business happy, that's who puts the dollars in their campaign funds after all.

      It's probable that it'll just be like all the rest of the recent "international" laws - there'll be safeguards to ensure no US citizens have to answer to any non-US IP holder, while US IP h

    • by memnock (466995)

      hopefully EU non-participation can be some kind of dealbreaker. but who knows, the other parties in the ACTA talks might go ahead without the EU and then attempt embargoes against the and things like that against the EU after passing ACTA.

      that or maybe the ACTA committees will water down certain parts to assuage the EU, getting it passed with certain "understandings" for EU nations. let's hope not.

    • he knows a few items like 3 strikes, mandatory isp policing and surveillance and sentencing, and these all conflict with fundamental laws, not only in eu, but also international. human rights declaration, geneva convention, free speech principles. and he speaks on those.

      if you dont know enough about europe, these laws and rules are fundamental to everything in eu.

    • by Tim C (15259)

      after reading a bit of his "opinion" piece (written way more formally than any opinion piece I've read)

      That will be because it is his opinion as the European Data Protection Supervisor; he is not just speaking personally, he is speaking in his official capacity. That rather requires a certain degree of formality.

  • In most (all?) countries, all laws are required to be available to the public to read. A secret law like this one is simply unenforceable by default.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by c-reus (852386)

      I'm sure it will be available for the public to read - but only after it has been signed into law. ACTA is still being negotiated, you know.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        That might even be illegal in most countries. But you may rest assured it becomes "public" a nanosecond before the vote. Since politicians rarely if ever read the laws they vote on anyway, they won't even bother to find out just since when they could read the law and go for the usual way they walk when tasked with voting on some law: Asking their party leaders how to vote.

        I really wonder why we need so many representatives. It's not like they do anything but raise their hand whenever the party says they sho

        • Because otherwise the one hand of the moderate left would be worth the same as the one hand of the fascist right.

          I'm all for proportional representation; I despise the first-past-the-post system we have at the moment, but as you say they all vote for the party line anyway.
    • by codegen (103601) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:46AM (#31243686) Journal

      Its not law yet. Its a proposed international treaty. Once it is signed, then each individual country that signs (an ratifies) it is then obligated to pass laws to implement the treaty. Those laws of course will be public.

      The problem with secret negotiations, is that the public is then presented with a fait d'accompli, which must be implemented in law, thus depriving them of any input. In some countries, the ratification process provides some measure of input, but it is binary, either yes or no. Once ratified, the politicians can then say, "we have to pass this law, we are obligated by the treaty" and ignore any opposition from the public.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Once ratified, the politicians can then say, "we have to pass this law, we are obligated by the treaty" and ignore any opposition from the public.

        Finally something to perhaps appreciate Bush for: Unilateral withdrawal from a signed and ratified treaty.

        We are not obligated to do anything by treaty. We are either in compliance or violation of the treaty terms.

        The more times a "treaty obligation" is used to trump the democratic process, the more abrogated treaties there will be.

      • Those laws of course will be public.

        Not entirely the case in the UK. The proposed law that is going through parliament gives the relevant minister the right to change the scope and penalties in the future without coming back to parliament. So no, we (and more to the point, our representatives, when the vote for it) won't know what the law will be in the future.

        • by codegen (103601)

          I presume you are talking about the current copyright orphan act as no law on ACTA would be in progress yet, since the treaty has not been agreed on.

          Second when a law delegates authority to a minister (regulatory authority), the regulations must be published before they can come into effect. In the UK they are published by OPSI, in Canada, they are published by the Canada Gazette.

          You are correct that delegating authority to a minister means you won't know what the details will be in the future. However

      • lameness filter fna fna fna fna fna
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Yes, but treaties seem to be a way around this. Governments don't need public approval for treaties. The treaties just obligate them to make appropriate laws. The public can have input into the laws after the treaty is signed but have considerably less say over it.

      Of course, the US (presumably other countries) often avoids treaty obligations because the constitution makes it impossible to write laws.
  • by sxpert (139117) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:39AM (#31243628)

    the title should read "European Law violates ACTA"
    subtitled "The law must be changed"

  • So is the retention of DNA of arrested individuals never charged with a crime in England. Nobody gives a shit about European law. Not even European politicians.

    When Europe has the balls / jurisdiction to indict heads of state over the transgressions of member states, maybe we'll see some countries brought into line. Right now, however, expect at least England to sign up for this no matter what Europe say.
    • by lattyware (934246)
      That said, if Europe ever started a more strict enforcement of European law in memeber countries, expect to see countries backing out of the EU.
      It sounds like an exaggeration, but I wouldn't be surprised, despite England being known for not having very much 'patriotism', it does seem the average person on the street absolutely hates the idea of being 'controlled' by Europe. Most EU legislation gets really bad press here, no matter what it is about. If they started really pushing it, I'd imagine you'd see
      • Fringe (far right) parties already get large portions of votes. UKIP second to Tories, BNP sixth [wikipedia.org] in 2009 European elections. That's two seats for the fascists.

        I have a very low regard for the vox populi when it comes to important decisions. As George Carlin said (paraphrased) "Think of how stupid the average person is. Now, realise that half of them are more stupid than that."
  • ACTA is illegal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ACTA is the attempt to eradicate free communication. The ultimate chilling effect. It's the return to government and industry controlled dissemination of propaganda. The establishment is fed up with grass-roots resistance to corporate control and is readying the big guns.

  • It's all starting to remind me of "Max Headroom"--that circa 1980s TV show that featured a gigitize floating head in a world that was basically run by major corporations. The corporations had control of everything, including the media.

    One interesting point of trivia regarding the show, which ran on ABC: the primary antagonist, Network 23, was a direct slam against one of ABC's primary rivals. Take the first letter of "Network" (N), and then the "23" actually represented the second and third letters of th
  • 3 Strikes and your out!

    Um, thats out for that time at bat. Not out of the game.

    So if I was the baseball commission, i'd sue over the improper use of the term.

  • by Requiem18th (742389) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @10:59AM (#31244532)

    Wasn't the minister of privacy supposed to spy on you?

  • No Kiddin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by epp_b (944299) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @11:00AM (#31244540)
    I'm pretty sure it violates law in pretty well every continent where it's planned to be implemented.
  • *chuckle* The people making ACTA know very well how much resistance there is to their plans, and that's precisely WHY it's been kept secret. This guy isn't even near the top of the list of people in power (Senators and Representatives in the US) who have already demanded transparency and been ignored, so I'm not sure why this is news.

    All the political powers not on the payrolls of the media industry are going to make a fuss about this, but they're in the minority, and obviously between Biden and Obama, betw

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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