Sunday, January 29, 2012

SOPA Was a Sideshow, Hiding the Real Sellout of Internet Freedom – But Here’s How to Stop It

Jan. 29, 2012: SOPA Was a Sideshow, Hiding the Real Sellout of Internet Freedom – But Here’s How to Stop It - Gaia Health

 While attention was misdirected towards SOPA, a greater threat to internet freedom was quietly being managed, and the sellout of our internet freedom seems like a done deal. But it isn’t. What’s been done is unconstitutional, and we can press our senators and congressional representatives to step into the gap.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an international treaty that does an end-run around national sovereignty. Its misleading title gives the impression its purpose is to stop the international sale of ersatz goods. It is, though, a Trojan horse, hiding the sinister  purpose of  destroying the internet as we know it and handing it over to multinational corporations.

If there’s any doubt about the intentions behind it, they should be quelled by the fact that negotiations have been held in secret. ACTA is just another means of turning the world into a mass serfdom.

ACTA would allow any claim from any party in any nation to force the closure and seizing of any website. No proof would be required. As anyone who pays attention knows, the right to make such a claim won’t be genuinely available to just anyone. It’ll take money and power to bring a claim. For those who have such wealth, the claim itself will suffice. The rest of us are left with no option but to anticipate complaints and act as self-censors.

The act requires severe penalties for the owner of a site on which users might have illegally transferred files. These penalties must include asset forfeiture, severe fines, and prison.

Even powerful sites like Apple are at risk. They provide the ability to record music, which has the potential of being misused. Thus:

We the people will be denied the right to use tools simply because someone
misuse them.

ACTA is the equivalent of imprisoning the truck driver because one item in one box on his truck might contain something illegal, even though he has no reasonable way of knowing that. Nothing much beyond the claim that such an item might be on his truck would be enough to assure that his truck could be taken from him. No due process would be required. In fact, the equivalent of an ISP, the road on which the truck is driven, would be responsible for shutting him down.

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