Saturday, August 02, 2008

ACTA Secrecy Concerns Increase

On July 28, 2008 Michael Geist reported in the Toronto Star that:

According to documents obtained under the Access to Information Act and reported here for the first time, the government has been crafting an Intellectual Property and Trade Advisory Group. The initial plans for membership in the group were limited exclusively to 12 government departments and 14 industry lobby groups. These include the Canadian Recording Industry Association, the Canadian Motion Picture and Distributors Association, and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. [CRIA, CMPDA, ESA]

The early membership lists omit several key industry representatives likely to be affected by ACTA, including telecommunications, technology, and Internet companies. Moreover, there is absolutely no representation of the public interest — no privacy representation despite the obvious privacy implications of the treaty (the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada was not included on the government invitee list), no consumer representation despite the effects on consumer interests, and no civil liberties representation on a treaty that could fundamentally alter Canadian civil rights.

CRIA, CMPDA, and ESA are highly influential American dominated lobbyist groups whose influence can be readily seen in Bill C-61.

Today, the highly regarded Intellectual Property Watch summarizes the current state of secret negotiations:
Sources described the closed-door negotiations which continued this week in Washington, DC as “very special", “unique in its secrecy” and the “first time that industry has been kept in the dark about an agreement of such importance.”
There are persistent rumours - based upon a leaked draft text - that ACTA could not only affect what happens at border crossings (laptop and iPod searches and confiscations?), but what is happening inside ISPs and ordinary people's internet accounts and activity, which could be monitored. This secrecy is very troubling. Moreover, Canada's lack of transparency is excessive compared to other countries - e.g. Canada, unlike the USA, hasn't published stakeholder submissions. This is especially troubling.



  1. This is very scary. The Government is legislating themselves to be able to spy on anyone, anytime, anyhow, and that is just not right. This needs to stop. To add to this growing concern comes this article from CBC.

    Is there anything people in Canada can do about this?

  2. What can we do? I am seriously starting to worry about the state of our stable little civilization. Where are all the leaders and visionaries hiding? Who would we even talk to? Do I have to work my way up the chain of command of Harper's personal staff just to get a word in?