ACTA is dead. The controversial treaty was killed off when it was largely rejected by the European parliament despite the best efforts of its proponents to paint it in a not so bad light. Warriors of the Internet thought they could take a much deserved rest after protesting the treaty for numerous months, but there is no rest for those who would protect the free Internet. The latest threat, while not as global as ACTA, has raised alarms across the land.
The newest threat to the Internet is called the Canada-European Union Trade Agreement, or CETA for short. The agreement would create stronger economic ties between the two parties by opening up free trade and increased investment from both sides. The treaty, however, has a darker side that was exposed by EDRI.
According to an email obtained by EDRI, the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union told the European Commission that the criminal sanctions provisions in CETA were lifted directly from ACTA. These provisions include increased damages for copyright infringement with ISPs being converted into a private copyright police, among others.
It seems that the same folks who launched massive protests across Europe for ACTA are now publicly protesting CETA. The EFF reports that citizens from France, Poland, and other EU member states are out on the streets protesting CETA and the secret negotiations that are being used to push the legislation.
Just like with ACTA and TPP, we don’t really know how bad CETA really is. All we know is that the people behind the treaty are pretty happy about the ACTA-like provisions in the treaty. That should be enough cause for concern for those who spent the better part of this year protesting ACTA.
Free trade, especially trade enabled by the Internet, should be protected. Treaties can help with that, but they must be negotiated with the utmost transparency. The EU and Canada are both proving that they don’t care to hear input from their respective citizens during the CETA negotiations. Expect to see more protests pop up as more is revealed about CETA.