Unknown to billions of Internet users globally, some suspected ‘shylocks’ in the name of making money online are bent on regulating the Internet.
DigitalSENSE News can authoritatively reveal that some trade representatives, under the aegis of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are resolute in negotiating their way into regulation of the Internet.
A recent meeting of trade representatives held in Dallas and confirmed by DigitalSENSE News showed that the secret meeting would include hardened intellectual property provisions capable of choking off online speech.
TPP, DigitalSENSE gathered has been secretly working on an agreement, which could be deadlier than the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), hence the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is raising an alarm through its comity of electronic freedom fighters.
EFF alleged that the TPP Agreement would tie the hands of democratically-elected legislators and create new, international standards for intellectual property enforcement.
“Worst of all, Internet users and free expression advocates like EFF aren’t allowed in the room and are forbidden from seeing the negotiated text,” said one of EFF International Team officer, Maira Sutton.
EFF, therefore call for a Congressional hearing so that lawmakers could learn what’s in the TPP and hear from all affected stakeholders, not just deep-pocketed industry representatives.
According to Sutton, the United States’ Trade Representative, Mr. Ron Kirk claims they have made “extraordinary efforts” to include public stakeholders in negotiations, but this could not be further from the truth.
Sutton noted that like ACTA, negotiations have actively excluded civil society and the public, while welcoming private industry representatives with open arms.
Citing for instance, that EFF’s International IP Director Gwen Hinze traveled to Dallas to demand transparency, but she could not get access to see the draft text or be present for the negotiations.
Hinze was quoted as saying that unlike previous negotiations on such a sensitive issue, there will be no official forum for stakeholders to present their views to the assembled TPP country negotiators.
“Instead, stakeholders are being asked to register their interest in sponsoring a table to provide negotiators who might so happen to stroll past with information on particular topics,” she lamented.
She maintained that the public should be seen as the front and center of all negotiations, instead of being relegated to a table outside.
A copy of the petition calling for congressional hearing on the TPP text by Electronic Frontier Foundation, described the meeting as ‘Backroom Deals to Regulate the Internet,’ urging Internet users the world over to speak out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement currently being negotiated by the United States and eight other countries, including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Like ACTA, industry watchers said that the TPP is being negotiated in secret, and on a fast timetable.
“We don’t know what’s in the TPP IP chapter, or even what the U.S. trade representative is pushing for in this agreement. That worries us. Entertainment industry executives who are members of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee will likely get to see the agreement drafts – again – but the rest of us will be kept in the dark unless we speak up now,” EFF officials said.
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