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US Gov. Releases Six Pages On Secret ACTA Pact 86

narramissic writes "Change is afoot at the Office of the US Trade Representative. New details have been released about an anti-counterfeiting trade agreement that has been discussed in secret among the US, Japan, the European Union and other countries since 2006. Although the six-page summary (PDF) provides little in the way of specific detail about the current state of negotiations, the release represents a change in policy at the USTR, which had argued in the past that information on the trade pact was 'properly classified in the interest of national security.'" Michael Geist has a timeline that puts together more details about the ACTA negotiations than any government has so far been willing to reveal.
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US Gov. Releases Six Pages On Secret ACTA Pact

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  • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @07:06PM (#27497141) Journal
    Are you sure you have the right topic? 6 pages of bland platitudes concerning an OMG Super Secret multinational copyright and worse treaty, released after months of hammering by everybody who isn't a current member in good standing of the evil plutocrat's club seems like the saddest victory for open source ever.

    Not to mention, it has nothing to do with open source.
  • Re:Best (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chabo ( 880571 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @07:20PM (#27497263) Homepage Journal

    Please do not use the Subject line to start a sentence that you finish in the Body field.

    "Counterfeit press ever" isn't even a sentence fragment; it's nonsense.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @07:21PM (#27497275)

    The Declaration of Independence [] warned us about this. Specifically:

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    You should read the rest of the document too, you might be startled to realize just how many of the reasons our country separated from its original government (the british) are presently true and in force. Frankly, secret treaties, secret courts, secret laws, and everything behind the veil of National Security... has now descended to matters as trivial as copyright. I think it's time to reconsider our perogative as Americans.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @07:59PM (#27497645)

    That, and the Boston Tea Party was over taxes that are LESS than what we face now.

    Kettle of water.
    Slowly apply heat.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:22PM (#27497857) Journal

    My best case, optimistic theory is that the bureaucrat handling this paperwork classified it because they classify everything and think that is both acceptable and desirable to the people in charge.
    So they take this middle ground and (hopefully) try to pass the buck up the chain of command, where the real policy makers will make a decision.

    Everyone has been keeping ACTA a secret.

    A large number of countries were negotiating ACTA in complete secrecy for 7 months before a policy paper got uploaded to wikileaks last year. Since that leak 11 months ago, every single country party to the negotiations has released... absolutely nothing about ACTA.

    The most likely scenario is that the various politicians and industry lobbies are doing what they can to get their domestically impossible wish lists put into a treaty and have it all agreed upon before the public interest groups can get a chance to protest.

    When you can't get a shitty law passed at home, get it passed in a treaty.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:44PM (#27498047) Journal

    I think it's time to reconsider our perogative as Americans.

    Why? I assume you are talking about a violent revolution? How many people do you think you would need supporting you in order to stage a revolution? 30%? 60%? If your revolution is going to be successful, you'll need more people for you than against you.

    Now, if you have that many people willing to support you, willing to DIE in order to get you to lead the country, why not just do it the normal way and get elected president? It would be so much simpler. That is why we don't need a revolution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:23PM (#27498363)

    You're also receiving better, and more government services than you were during Ye Olden times. Unless you wish to go back to the times before paved roads, public education for all(1), strong diversified defence(2), quality healthcare(3), decent civil protection(4), and all the other stuff you take for granted, learn to deal with the amount of tax you pay. Besides, the Boston Tea Party was an outcry against the level of taxation in proportion to the quality/quantity of service - ie, paying for nothing. The level of bureaucracy nowadays might be high, but it's not THAT bad.

    (1) Not that the current education system is anything to write home about
    (2) ie. Not just farmers with guns
    (3) Yes, tax dollars do contribute a huge amount to healthcare - even more per capita than some public healthcare countries.
    (4) Again, the current state of the police force isn't anything to write home about, but it's far better than what they had 'back in the day'.

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:51PM (#27498537)
    It's more likely they denied the FOI request simply because the general public would be outraged at potential loss of civil rights should this treaty be signed.

    This is scary stuff, although it seems mostly conjecture at this point. Frightening to think that they gave the recording and movie industry access and even consulted with them according to rumor, while leaving civil rights groups out in the cold.

    I'd suggest folks start calling their local papers and news channels asking why they aren't bringing this issue into public awareness. I just did the same with my local news and MSNBC.
  • by Quothz ( 683368 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:13PM (#27498693) Journal

    Frog. Kettle of water. Slowly apply heat.

    That doesn't actually work.

    ...uh, I hear.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:53PM (#27499003)

    Why? I assume you are talking about a violent revolution? How many people do you think you would need supporting you in order to stage a revolution? 30%? 60%? If your revolution is going to be successful, you'll need more people for you than against you.

    You're an idiot if you think you need a majority to have a revolution. In truth, you may need as few as a hundred people, well placed and educated. Or you need billions, all mildly receptive to the idea. It depends on what is at stake, the will of the people, and a long list of other social intangibles. It's better to look at it in terms of social pressure than by mere numbers. A dozen people highly dedicated to a cause caused trillions of dollars in damage to this economy recently. It wasn't a revolution, but what if there had been a hundred, instead of a dozen? The Soviet Union fell in a matter of hours. The Berlin Wall came down in a week. You think the United States is somehow more impervious to this? That it couldn't crumble under a coup de etat? If you think that, you're being naive.

    The bottom line is that national security has become such an all-consuming goal for our government precisely because these intangible social factors point to this country being in a period of extreme suseptibility to losing control of its population, hence the aggressive need for suppression of free speech, excessive demands for secrecy, and the sudden and rapid reduction of civil liberties. They're trying to keep people from getting together in any large numbers and getting the idea in their head that now is the time for change and something spontanious develops and rips the guts out of the institution.

    Which is exactly how it happens -- not with a bang, but a whisper.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:18PM (#27499205) Journal

    It's pretty standard to have an executive order that prohibits releasing treaty negotiation documents. The denial does not mean that it was "classified" in the sense of it being confidential, secret, or top secret".

    Uhhh... sure.
    But that isn't the problem.

    The **AAs of the world have been given a chance to contribute to the treaty, but we the people haven't. And in the USA's case, they were quite literally given a seat at the table, since Obama has been appointing **AA lawyers to high level positions in his Administration.

    So I'd suggest that it is not "pretty standard" to begin negotiating multi-lateral trade treaties in complete secrecy from the public. Further, I'd say that it is not "pretty standard" to include trade & industry associations while excluding the public. This smacks of the kind of secret policy making I thought had left with Cheney and his secret energy task force [].

  • by flameproof ( 1460175 ) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @02:15AM (#27500151) Homepage

    So you're a conspiracy theorist. Now I have to ask you.....who is they? Can you pleeeease say, "The truth is out there" with a straight face? Cool, thanks. Who is it? Is it the illuminati? The Jewish Cabal? Who is your preferred conspiracy group? Who is this 'they' that is trying to keep people from getting together in large numbers?

    I am no "conspiracy theorist", but I am very concerned about the lack of transparency in my own government and the open abuse of the power I have only one real choice (at this juncture in "history") to endow it with: by "voting my conscience". I really don't like the fog of "terrorist" paranoia my country is living under right now; it's much worse than I can remember when there was a so-called "communist threat"; not much of which, it turns out, was in any way real, hurt multitudes of innocent, good people and only served to strengthen and prop up the abuses of power that came after (Nixon, Iran Contra, Nicaragua, Saddam Hussein, etc).

    A lot of people have the problem that they haven't really studied history, so they don't know what a revolution looks like

    Well, I have studied history. I know what a revolution looks like; it's ugly. People get killed. Good, innocent, just-minding-their-own business people. It's only the ones who stay informed and choose a side who have any chance of effecting a worthwhile change and even then, only because they've made a conscious decision to stand up, fight and often die for what is right. And most of those, unless you've taken a long walk through Arlington, you'll never even hear about.

    I love this country. I love the Ideal of this country. My father, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends have fought and died for you to have the right to nitpick someone on this board's ability to intelligently add to the conversation. And if the time ever comes that as a civilian I have to stand up and fight and die for your right to continue to do that because AMERICA NEEDS TO REBOOT then I'll do that. I think that's what it means - as a Student of History - to be an American.

Loose bits sink chips.