ACTA a threat to freedom of the Internet?

The European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, has noted concerns that the ACTA Treaty signed by many governments, including Australia, may “limit freedom of expression and freedom of the Internet”.

The digital freedom campaign group Access Now reports that the European Commission “may be rethinking its stance on ACTA.”

On February 11th, tens of thousands of citizens took to the cold streets in over 200 cities across Europe in opposition to ACTA, expressing their support for internet freedom and digital rights. In what has so far been the largest protest against copyright legislation ever, it is clear that the concerns raised by civil society organisations, campaigners, and citizens are based on facts and can no longer be ignored. It has become clear to the European Commission and the Parliament that citizens will not stand idly by while important decisions about the future of our internet, our freedoms, and our rights are made without our approval.

We’re encouraged by the way in which the winds of change seem to be blowing in the direction of human rights, innovation, transparency and flexible IP regimes. So far Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic have backed away from supporting ACTA by suspending ratification, and Germany and the Netherlands have put a delay on even signing the agreement! Yesterday, the Dutch Parliament  adopted a motion asking its government not to sign the Agreement until “it is conclusively established that the Treaty does not conflict with fundamental rights.”

Access Now’s analysis suggests that ACTA “will destroy the openness of the internet and threatens free speech online by forcing websites and ISPs to watch and track our every move”. They have a detailed statement about why ACTA is such a threat.

You may wish to sign Access Now’s petition against ACTA.

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