ACTA Treaty: Can Seize, Destroy Your PC, Electronicsby Bill Lindner
Apr. 18, 2010
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The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a far-reaching proposal that the U.S. government has insisted was too sensitive to be exposed to the public. Now that the 44-page document (PDF) has been leaked, it's easy to see why the U.S. wanted to keep it a secret. (Source: die-linke.de)
ACTA, in its present form, is heralded by the Film and Music industries and their fight against piracy. However, if upheld, citizens will pay a heavy price for their privacy.
Gov't Can Search, Seize and Destroy Electronics
Former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama both favor ACTA, which is a result of countless millions of dollars in international lobbying money from the media industry.
ACTA was designed to enact the constant monitoring of everyone's online activities -- both legitimate and non-legitimate -- and gives border agents in the U.S. and other member states the power to search and seize your equipment without a warrant. Effectively, it gives these officials the power to destroy U.S. citizens' laptops, iPods or CDs if the agents suspect they might contain copyright-infringing content. (Source: dailytech.com)
The worst part about giving border patrol agents the power to search and seize your electronics is that the U.S. citizens will be paying for it without their knowledge.
U.S. Keeps ACTA Secret from Public
Surprisingly, there are only a few nations named in the treaty that support the U.S. government's intentions of keeping the terms of ACTA secret. Dutch officials 'accidently' leaked a memo from a secret ACTA negotiation meeting in Mexico detailing who supported keeping ACTA secret from citizens of member nations.
Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, South Korea and Singapore all supported keeping ACTA secret, with Denmark being the most vocal supporter of secrecy.
ACTA Secrecy Raises Questions
The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Austria, the UK, and Japan all supported releasing ACTA details to the public. Japan and the UK were particularly vocal about transparency. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand weren't listed in the memo, but have also advocated transparency.
The U.S. fought to keep the terms of ACTA secret, and with the help of a few nations supporting secrecy, successfully prevented ACTA details from being aired. Despite their best attempts at secrecy, much information about ACTA had already been made public due the the whistleblower websites like Wikileaks.org.