Consumer and civil rights organisations around the world have written to the European Parliament to protest clauses in the proposed international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement now in secret negotiation.
This is the text of the letter.
ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a broad intergovernmental agreement under negotiation ranging from the key social issue of access to medicine to criminal Internet regulation. We fear it could seriously hinder European innovation in the digital single market while undermining fundamental rights and democracy at large.
The negotiation process itself raises important questions of transparency and due democratic process, given that the content of the draft agreement has been kept secret for more than 18 months, although some details about the proposals recently leaked to the public. More worrying still, while the European Parliament has been denied access to the documents, US industry has been granted access to them, albeit only after signing non-disclosure agreements.
A recent analysis by the European Commission of the ACTA Internet chapter proves that the topics under discussion go far beyond the current body of EU law. Most importantly, the Commission's analysis confirms that the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy. These are very much at risk, since the current draft pushes for the implementation of three-strikes schemes and content filtering policies by seeking to impose civil and criminal liability on technical intermediaries such as internet service providers. The text would also radically erode the exercise of interoperability that is essential for both consumer rights and competitiveness.
Consequently, we urge the Parliament to call on European negotiators to establish transparency in the negotiation process and publish the draft agreement, and not to accept any proposal which would undermine citizens' rights and freedoms. Furthermore, we urge the Parliament to make an unequivocal statement to the Commission and Council that any agreement which does not respect these core principles would force the Parliament to reject the entire text.
The first signatories of this letter are (in alphabetical order):
- AK DATEN EV, Germany
- April, France
- ASIC, France
- Asociación de Internautas, Spain
- Bits of Freedom, The Netherlands
- Chaos Computer Club, Germany
- Constant vzw, Belgium
- Consumers International
- dyne.org, intenational
- EDRi, Europe
- Electronic Frontier Finland
- Electronic Frontier Foundation, international
- Exgae, Spain
- Free Knowledge Institute, Europe
- Free Software Foundation, international
- Gleducar, Argentina
- Hacktivistas, Spain
- Knowledge Ecology International
- La Quadrature du Net, France
- netzpolitik.org, Germany
- Open Rights Group, United Kingdom
- Opendata Network, Germany
- Scambio Etico, Italy
- The Julia Group (Juliagruppen), Sweden
- The WeReBuild clusters, Europe
- US PIRG, USA