Still-murky treaty could change web as we use it

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Today, I have a very interesting article to share with you; one that makes for good reading when it comes to security of the Internet.  I invite you now to read on.
Enjoy your day.
Still-murky treaty could change web as we use it

Iain Marlow
The Toronto Star , Nov. 8, 2009
The future of the Internet in Canada may have been decided in Seoul, Korea,
this past week.
But it’s hard to be sure, since the latest negotiations for the Anti-
Counterfeiting Trade Agreement were held in secret, as they have been in the
past, and the only details came to the public through leaks, says Michael
Geist, a law professor and Star columnist, who himself posted a leaked
chapter on the agreement’s Internet Policy on his personal website.
“We’re dealing with intellectual property agreements that are being treated
as akin to nuclear secrets and that just doesn’t make any sense at all,”
Geist says. “That’s the transparency side of this. Then, of course, there’s
the content side of it… this week, they crossed the line into the realm of
affecting individuals very, very directly.”
If it’s any measure of the public’s interest, Geist’s site got 100,000
unique hits in a 24-hour span after he posted the document.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an attempt to update
international law to deal with online intellectual-property violations. The
negotiations concluded on Friday and the next round are scheduled for Mexico
in January.
The member states, which include the U.S., Canada, the European Union, and
other states including Morocco and Mexico, hope to finish off the discussion
and make it law later that year. For the average Internet user in Canada,
then, 2010 could shape up to be a drastically different year than 2009, with
much more scrutiny given to everything you do on your computer and mobile
device – every download, upload, viewing, phone unlocking, burning, backing
up, etc.
One of the proposals, according to leaks, involve a three-strikes system:
three infringements and your Internet service provider (ISP) has to yank the
cord from the IP address, not just the lone user. A few illegal downloads,
iPhone hackings or movie uploads and an entire family could be without
Internet for 12 months.
According to a joint press release from participating countries on Friday,
the “discussions at the meeting were productive and focused on enforcement
of rights in the digital environment and criminal enforcement.”
Bloggers, obviously, are howling, with headlines expressing their
indignation: at Econsultancy, “ACTA could be the worst thing for the
Internet – ever”; and, noting if the treaty is signed the U.S. congress
would have to rewrite existing American law, Wired’s Threat Level blog said,
“Copyright Treaty Is Policy Laundering at Its Finest.”
But one of the more intriguing developments might be what it does to the
ISPs, which in Canada are mainly large corporate entities with lots of
lobbying clout, such as Rogers, which has already consulted with the
Canadian government on its position.
Under the new rules, ISPs would no longer be able to simply blame users on
illegal downloads; they would have to be more proactive as a sort of
Geist says, of the new rules, “It turns ISPs into Internet police. It turns
them against their own subscribers.”

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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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