×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Council Refuses To Release ACTA Documents

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the mine-mine dept.

Privacy 145

CaptSolo writes "The EU Council refuses to release secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement documents, stating that disclosure of this information could impede the proper conduct of the negotiations, would weaken the position of the EU in these negotiations, and might affect relations with the third parties concerned. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure requested these documents last week. FFII's response questions ACTA's secrecy saying: 'The argument that public transparency regarding 'trade negotiations' can be ignored if it would weaken the EU's negotiation position is particularly painful. At which point exactly do negotiations over trade issues become more important than democratic law making? At 200 million euro? At 500 million euro? At 1 billion euro? What is the price of our democracy?'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

145 comments

Just tell us already! (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716369)

weaken the position of the EU in these negotiations

For the sake of government transparency, I say it's worth it.

might affect relations with the third parties concerned

For the worst, I hope.

Re:Just tell us already! (4, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716399)

Questioning the council leads to fear, fear leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side.

Re:Just tell us already! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716787)

Questioning the council leads to fear, fear leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side.

Ahh so all roads lead to the EU Council then.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! (1)

MindKata (957167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718277)

"Questioning the council leads to fear, fear leads to hate, etc..."

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...

It's not democratic. (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716415)

It's closed-door rulemaking the old-fashioned way.

Democratic nations should be petitioning against the negotiations and attempting to recall council member representatives on that basis.

Before it's too late...

Re:It's not democratic. (1)

frietbsd (943773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718097)

It's closed-door rulemaking the old-fashioned way.

Democratic nations should be petitioning against the negotiations and attempting to recall council member representatives on that basis.

Before it's too late...

it is democratic as long as the people doing the negociations are democraticly elected. That is called representative democracy. "We the people" can punish the leaders if they f- up by not re-electing them.

Doing this behind closed doors makes it quicker and i have complete faith that it will either be published or leaked to the public otherwise when the negotiations are over.

In the Netherlands (where i live), it is common that after elections they start coalitiontalks behind closed doors, But every time one of the parties leaks information to the press to pressure the other party.

It is this leaking that shifts the balance away from the electoral result, So actually i believe that leaking does more harm to the democratic process than the fact that they do it behind closed doors.

Re:It's not democratic. (4, Insightful)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718251)

it is democratic as long as the people doing the negociations are democraticly elected. That is called representative democracy. "We the people" can punish the leaders if they f- up by not re-electing them.

No, that's not how the Dutch or other European democracies work. We have a system whereby you have a government and a parliament (with one or two chambers). While both the people in parliament and in the government are democratically elected, the job of the parliament is to scrutinise the government. It's all part of the checks and balances.

The problem with the ACTA is that the national parliaments have no access whatsoever to the texts under negotiation, and hence are unable to perform their jobs as representatives of the other citizens.

It is this leaking that shifts the balance away from the electoral result, So actually i believe that leaking does more harm to the democratic process than the fact that they do it behind closed doors.

That's only true if you believe that a representative democracy means that you "cast your vote and then forget about everything". That's a very naive and unrealistic view. Voting is only a part (but an important one) of what is necessary to make a representative democracy work.

Constant scrutiny and input from the general public is desirable and I dare say required to keep things functioning properly. After all, the people in government and parliament are not supposed to and cannot rule from an ivory tower, just decreeing what is "best for the populace", without any external input.

They are elected to represent us, but that does not mean that from that point on they will automatically always possess all necessary knowledge to decide about anything that matters. They regularly have to inform themselves about topics they don't know everything about.

So how should they inform themselves? By looking at studies and talking to experts. Studies are written by people and experts are also people. Inevitably, you are going to get some bias. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that they get input from an as broad as possible group of people so that they get an as complete as possible picture (rather than just the picture that one or other special interest group wants them to see).

Hence, public scrutiny and awareness about what is going on is of paramount importance to avoid lock-ins by special interest groups. That doesn't mean it is easy to avoid this, but it is a necessary precondition.

The European Court of Justice recently still stressed the importance of openness in law making in its ruling in the Turco case [europa.eu] :

Openness in that respect contributes to strengthening democracy by allowing citizens to scrutinize all the information which has formed the basis of a legislative act. The possibility for citizens to find out the considerations underpinning legislative action is a precondition for the effective exercise of their democratic rights.

I Know!! (2, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716435)

We can just ask President-Elect Obama to publish it after he gets sworn in! He's all about "Change", right?

Right?

-Strat

Re:I Know!! (2, Insightful)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716485)

Except that he's president-elect of America, which, last time I checked, wasn't a member of the EU. Besides, hopefully his Change mantra will include the US not strong-arming other nations into doing what we want.

Re:I Know!! (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716507)

ACTA is an American/EU trade agreement. He'll have access to it.

Re:I Know!! (1)

gwait (179005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717073)

Canada is also a part of this RIAA farce.
This is big media taking the biggest stance yet against the free flow of information on the internet.
This benefits big business, not voters, nor likely the artists as history shows.

How best to make this stuff public? Hopefully someone will get a copy out to wikileaks.
Also perhaps a list of politicians who are directly (or indirectly?) involved in this deal should be published to shame them into coming clean..

Re:I Know!! (2, Insightful)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717993)

Yes, and Parliaments cannot see what is negotiated there, they don't even know the precise mandate of the Government to conclude this agreement and Eu bureaucrats admit that the objective is to impose IP enforcement regulation on "trade partners". According to EU officials part of it are civil and criminal sanctions for IPR enforcement and internet content filtering. The directive for criminal sanctions is currently stalled in the EU-Council because the EU level has no competence for that and the proposed measures were just disproportionate. And internet content filtering was kicked out of the Telcom package by the EU-Parliament after the lobby hijacked the telco regulation on committee stage. And sure the EU wants to export its IPR enforcement directive to the US. According to EU officials the reason of the pressure on the US side is that change was expected, regardless Obama or McCain and the anti-democratic trade nuts wanted to fix something before the change of administration. It is a kind of IP maximalist coup d'etat. Trade officials conspire to crack "down on piracy and counterfeiting" without any regard to proportionate legislation, balace of established law, democratic principles, the policies and principles of foreign trade policy as removal of trade barriers, etc. It is not the officials specialised on IPR policies who drive that but trade politicians who don't understand the current corpus of law and follow the principles of "more is better".

Now, ACTA is a maximalist tool, driven by ideological trade officials from many nations who want to jointly hijack the political deliberative process.

That is just the procedural stuff that is anti-democratic, anti-parliament, anti-expert, anti-constitution, pro-forum shopping, pro-maximalist, anti-free trade. The WTO and WIPO are not radical enough for them.

http://action.ffii.org/acta/Analysis [ffii.org]

Re:I Know!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717231)

What's this "EU" thing you are talking about? Is it like Washington "DC" or something? I don't even...

Re:I Know!! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717765)

Perhaps it's the state designator for the People's Republic of Eugene? Has it finally declared UDI from the rest of Oregon?

Re:I Know!! (2, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716613)

Except that he's president-elect of America, which, last time I checked, wasn't a member of the EU.

Last I checked, America was also involved in the ACTA negotiations. Wouldn't the US State Department have copies of such an agreement he could release if he so chose? As a matter of fact, isn't America one of the biggest, if not *the* biggest, proponent of some of the most egregious and draconian parts of this agreement? Could he not instruct the US State Department to change terms that the US put in?

Besides, hopefully his Change mantra will include the US not strong-arming other nations into doing what we want.

If that includes not strong-arming his own and every other nation he can into an agreement with the horrid regulations/laws/rules reported to be included in ACTA, then I'm with you.

I really do hope he does live up to his campaign rhetoric and promises about being a different sort of politician that truly believes in a more open, compassionate government and doesn't pander to corporate lobbyists.

I wouldn't bet the farm on it though.

-Strat

Re:I Know!! (0)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716893)

I really do hope he does live up to his campaign rhetoric and promises about being a different sort of politician that truly believes in a more open, compassionate government and doesn't pander to corporate lobbyists.

LOL! Obama has been pandering to corporate lobbyists for his entire career. He didn't live up to the rhetoric and promises during his campaign, why would he start now?

Re:I Know!! (0, Offtopic)

L0stm4n (322418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717085)

[citation needed]

Re:I Know!! (3, Informative)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717539)

[citation needed]

How about this? [opensecrets.org] He was only in the Senate for 3 of those years, yet he still managed to rank second!

Or maybe this? [abcnews.com]

Or this? [greenchange.org]

I could go on all day, but what's the point? You're just going to make up some ridiculous excuse.

Re:I Know!! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718557)

How about this? [opensecrets.org] He was only in the Senate for 3 of those years, yet he still managed to rank second!

Did you check the figures adding up to the total? He received $126,349. Of this, $6,000 was from PACs while the rest includes contributions from individuals employed by the two companies. If someone contributes $20 to his presidential campaign, it will go in that total. Since he raised record amounts from individual contributions, I'd be surprised if he wasn't near the top of that list, and I'd expect it to be the same from any employer picked at random in the USA.

Your second link showed him working on behalf of a major employer in his constituency to lower their costs, which helps keep jobs for his workers. While I'm pretty much against the US model where Senators are sent to Washington to represent their states, rather than their country, he was doing what he was elected to do.

As to your third link, why would he not listen to lobbyists? They have expertise in a certain area, and if you don't take money from them you can listen with an open mind and disregard their advice if it seems silly. Unless they are the only people he is listening to, in which case that would be pretty damning.

Re:I Know!! (2, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717711)

"hopefully his Change mantra will include the US not strong-arming other nations into doing what we want."

holy FUCK are you naive little man.

Re:I Know!! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716495)

Oh, just go suck a dick. Your bomb-dropping fascist cock-knobber in chief had eight years to work with and all he did was run your national reputation right down the shitter. Piss and moan and whine and wail all you want, but your entire country just delivered a giant, gold-plated "fuck you!" to your head cowboy. Deal with it or get raped. I don't care which.

Re:I Know!! (3, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716535)

Why does everybody seem to see politics as binary red/blue issues? Why can't we dislike both canidates?

Re:I Know!! (2, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716585)

Because then things get complicated, and you have to actually compare things.

I do really hate how people keep talking about stuff as a binary thing, when there are a variety of options.

Re:I Know!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717221)

True.

Re:I Know!! (2, Insightful)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718011)

Exactly, some people also divide everything in two categories, and others don't. D'oh!

Re:I Know!! (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717251)

Why does everybody seem to see politics as binary red/blue issues?

You mean like this [roosterteeth.com] ? I would have thought it's obvious - the republicans are the reds, the democrats are the blues, and both are too useless too actually be effective.

Re:I Know!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716581)

Last I checked, I didn't vote for the cowboy want-a-be. So blow it out of your arse, you numb nut! -sid216

Re:I Know!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716699)

Best comment I've seen in a long time. Damn funny. All those damned idiots claiming to be "against both" when they insult one are delusional at best, and simply liars otherwise. Idiots claiming to have a better perception of situations claim not to understand the greatest most encompassing situation? They're just fucking bigots all of 'em.

All your rights are belong to us. (0)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716469)

Sometimes, I think that the people who make mistakes under such circumstances should be held responsible for several *Generations*.

I bet *that* would make openness more attractive.

GrpA

uh oh.... (1, Troll)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716501)

Hey Europe,

Remember when you modded me a troll for opining that socialism is incompatible with liberty and democratic ideals?

I think you said something to the effect that "Here in Europe we are all kinds of socialist, and it rules!" (I'm paraphrasing).

This is one of those little symptoms. Oh...and laws restricting free-speech....that's one too.

Re:uh oh.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716531)

Ah? You mean that the US have published the documents? Please link or just shut up with your idiotic comments regarding Europe. Thanks

Re:uh oh.... (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717547)

The US are about free speech and obviously not free information.

The EU has been providing us with a shameless history of traisons against the people: Take as a expample the scam called "lisbon treaty" that was much indeed the exact copy the rejected constitution, only written in a way noone was able to understand and as a treaty in order to avoid any referendum.

No surprise that both powers are doing things in secret, probably they are planning to hurt their own people, once again.

So READ OUT the document (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25718119)

And the document itself is still secret (YOU can't read it) but speech is free as you maintain.

Re:uh oh.... (1)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718235)

Except that the Lisbon treay is a treay and the EU constitution was a constitution. There's a pretty big difference, you know.

Treaties, like most legal documents, are always difficult to read. They have to be, as "easy to read" almost always equates to "vague" - not something you want in law!

Try reading the original Treaty of Maastricht if you want a challlenging document. That little bueaty is the source of many 2nd year law students' nightmares.

Re:uh oh.... (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718269)

NO WAY.

Get some information before you relay the official LIES from the european commission. The lisbon arrangments should be called out loud "Lisbon Traison"

This is what they don't want you to know http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kr0Foq3CQE [youtube.com] or maybe you already know and are just a laque of the European commission...

Re:uh oh.... (1)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718383)

"or maybe you already know and are just a laque of the European commission..."

Although I'm not quite sure what a 'laque' is, you should know that the immediate presumption that anyone who disputes your cries of conspiracy, is involved in the conspiracy; is a common sign of paranoid skyzophrenia.

The fact remains though: ones a treay, ones a constitution. The difference is pretty obvious.

Re:uh oh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25718455)

If you claim paranoid skyzophrenia then be careful, as it comes from several European MEPs.

Re:uh oh.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716671)

It's Australia that have been the most forthcoming with information about ACTA... not the US, Europe, Canada or New Zealand. This is not socialist vs capitalist -- it's more complex than that.

Re:uh oh.... (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716835)

Not when progressives need a strawman (facism) or conservatives need one (tax-and-spend liberals). It's harder to blindly hate if you take time to understand complex situations. Far easier to "cast" the opponent into a pre-defined hate-worthy role. That's why we see all this copy-pasta blaming something in a way that makes no sense at all.

Re:uh oh.... (1)

spartanhelmet (1013749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716849)

As if. It's "open" here as long as you have the right spiel. We're just as pissed off about it here as anywhere. Though, here I was pissed off at the US trade dept, not realising the EU were 'as bad', so I can see where your confusion originates. .. and remember the whole net-censoring fiasco we have right now?

Re:uh oh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716725)

So what you're saying is..

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.. Pick Two.

No sir, that's not how we roll.

Re:uh oh.... (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716727)

You were modded troll by a continent?

Re:uh oh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717039)

Europe is also a synonym for the EU, especially in international politics. Much like when someone is referring to America, he is often talking about the USA and not the geographical entity of north and south america.

When the US president say that he has talked with the Europeans or Europe; he is usually referring to the European Union.

But anyway, that doesn't really matter...

Re:uh oh.... (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717559)

Relax, it was a joke, admittedly at your expense. The point(s) I was trying to make in a gentle manner are...

1. Avoid the logical fallacy of assuming that one random opinion represents the thoughts and opinions of one billion people.

2. Look up some definitions, some of the words you are using do not mean what you think they do (eg: socialisim).

3. The USA is a nation, the EU is largely a trading bloc.

4. Your troll mod could easily have come from anyone, anywhere. In fact given the mood in the US it could quite easily have come from someone down the street.

5. Get over yourself, ideology is the problem not the answer.

Disclaimer: I'm an Aussie.

Re:uh oh.... (2, Informative)

gwait (179005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717141)

Whoa dude,

By all accounts the US are the instigaters of this ACTA nonsense, instigated under a Republican administration.

Trade reps have been bullying and bribing the Canadian government for a couple of years to get our Lilly livered conservatives to try to pass a "made in Canada" DMCA that makes the US DMCA look like a good idea. (Bill C-61)

It went away when the Canadian Conservative party called an election this fall, but now that's done with, it's expected to come back with a vengeance.

This ACTA thing seems to be phase 2, and you can bet it is NOT AT ALL about free speech, but rather the exact opposite.

Expect your internet connection box to turn you in for crimes against the state in a few years.

Re:uh oh.... (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718265)

A copyright treaty in favour of the corporations to the detriment of the workers is... socialist? Wow.

Or in other words... (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716591)

All your rights are belong to us.

Somebody set up us the bomb (and the people actually voted for them!)

You have no chance to survive make your time. Ha ha ha ha ....

Re:Or in other words... (1)

nxsty (942984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717543)

and the people actually voted for them!

Actually we didn't vote for the people in the European Commission. EU is not a democracy. So whatever they do, we have no way of holding them accountable.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718293)

The main people negotiating about the ACTA are not the Commission, but the EU Council of Minister (which consists of ministers from the member states). And it is these ministers that refuse to inform their national parliaments of what the hell they are actually negotiating about.

So while it is easy to blame everything on the EU, in this case it's actually the national governments that are to blame. And a single national parliament should be able to derail this whole farce by requiring its government to disclose those documents before they get a mandate from said parliament to sign any agreement.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718527)

Unfortunately it wont be the UK, Gordon Brown is the most spineless man ive seen in that office. He just cant make decisions on anything without thinking about it all year. Then goes back on those decisions more times than I can count.

Ill probably get modded flamebait for this but if so in this case flamebait=truth.

I'm confused (3, Insightful)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716651)

democratic law making?

the EU

Can someone explain the relation, please?

Re:I'm confused (2, Interesting)

stygianguest (828258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717775)

Oh stop it. I know it's a popular meme, but it's not much more than that. The european union is a democratic institution and always has been. Yes it has its faults, but it has become more democratic with time. Unlike some other federations that shall remain unnamed, like the USA.

I'd also argue that the EU has brought more democracy to the world since the 90s than any other state or organisation. The expansion of the EU and the often just the prospect of it, has brought democracy to eastern europe and beyond.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Bazer (760541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717929)

Unlike some other federations that shall remain unnamed, like the US.

You just had to spell it out, didn't you? By Zeus, it didn't even take you a proper ellipsis to spill the name!

Re:I'm confused (1)

VariableRob (1272728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718755)

Rubbish. The people of Europe were assured that the Lisbon Treaty could not go ahead without unanimous consent from everyone. Then Ireland voted no and they said that, actually, they didn't need unanimous consent and they would go ahead with it anyway. Then they told Ireland to have another referendum to try for the 'right' result.
This all came about because the citizens of several other EU countries voted no to the constitution so they repackaged it and tried to just ram it through.
The EU is anti-democratic, anti-civil rights and anti-citizen. And yes, I do mean 'anti' as in their behaviour shows they actively dislike the involvement of the people of Europe. Except when they can get agreement to something so that they can pretend they have a mandate.

Re:I'm confused (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718855)

The EU does indeed have some democratic aspects. So do Shell and General Motors. Its employees, for example, can democratically decide which brand of coffee comes out of the coffee machine. Does that make them democracies?

I think even you'd answer "no" to that question. So we can conclude from that that a bit more than some democratic aspects are needed to call something a democracy. In the EU the democratic part is formed by the European Parliament, which is elected by the citizens of the EU. However, this parliament doesn't have influence on all matters.

Which brings me to the Treaty formerly known as the European Constitution, the Lisbon treaty. Do you happen to know what happened to that after it was first refused by the Dutch and the French? The story is too long to tell here, besides it'd make me too pissed of to be able to work the rest of the day, so I'm not going to explain it here. I suggest you read up on the history of the Lisbon treaty of 2007. Once you understand what happened there, you wouldn't call the European Union a democracy anymore, you'd call it an oligarchy in which the oligarchs are mostly non-elected members of the governments of the states that form the EU.

I can come up with hundreds of examples like that, but the Lisbon Treaty story is by far the saddest and most visible one. The EU is not a democracy. It has just enough democratic aspects to keep the people of the EU satisfied, and that's about it.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25719553)

http://www.stopcp.com/ [stopcp.com]

"Common Purpose is a recruitment organisation being used to recruit the bureaucrats needed to run Britain when the country is taken over by the European Union.

Common Purpose is a Marxist-led, European Union 'Trojan Horse' fifth column operation and is part of the mechanism being used by Brussels to undermine and soften up British society to pave the way for the take-over of Britain by the European Union Collective of Communist Purpose (EUCCP), also known as the European Union Police State.

The European superstate is designed to be centrally controlled and managed at lower levels by bland and brain dead 'leaders' who are all programmed to think the same. This is where Common Purpose comes in. "

What is the price of our democracy? (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716657)

Priceless.

When a government decides to have policy and decision making behind closed doors that can/may and probably will impact your day to day life, you can and are moving from a democracy to an oligarchy. Regardless of whether you're electing them or not, the state of affairs on such is the same.

People in the EU shouldn't be questioning this, they should be up in arms over it, screaming and protesting in the streets over it.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (0, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716695)

Here in the US, that would be $250,000. After all comrade, it's patriotic to pay your fair share of taxes.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716735)

Are you sure it wasn't 700 Billion? After all its patriotic to bleed the middle class and then say oops.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717013)

Oh you want to add some insult to the injury? How about how they just boosted AIG [yahoo.com] to $150 billion and that $700 billion? They have actually spent $2 trillion [bloomberg.com] and are refusing to say where the money actually went. You just got to love putting Wall Street insiders in charge of a Wall Street bailout.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716805)

The price of democracy is campaign contributions to about 5 United States Representatives. Rep Bono is one of them. Along with all the other assholes who've pushed for this crap in the past. It's time these people were removed from office.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717337)

People in the EU shouldn't be questioning this, they should be up in arms over it, screaming and protesting in the streets over it.

You do realize that the US is not only a part of the negotiations, but it's their idea to keep everything secret, right?

I guess what I'm saying is: you first.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717457)

Happily.

Just as soon as I can get over the "citizen apathy" hurdle to get some people together.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717847)

you can and are moving from a democracy to an oligarchy.

Nah, that would require the EU to be a democracy in the first place, which it most certainly is not [wikipedia.org] .

Rich.

Re:What is the price of our democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717987)

Troll - just read what he linked to.

The EC commissioners are appointed by the European Council and the European Parliament. Both are certainly democratic institutions and both have higher authority over the EC. The EC can't pass any legislation. It is an executive branch.

Ugh, france will screw this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716681)

Someone better damn well get a look at it or France will royally ruin it:
http://www.linksandlaw.com/adwords-google-keyword-lawsuit-France.htm

http://fortunelegalpad.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/certifiedenglishhermeslvmhdior12.pdf

Australia has this problem as well. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716697)

Australia has the same problem. EFA Tried to sue using Freedom of Information laws to get the same info out of the department of foreign affairs and trade. Same response. All the governments are under an NDA on this thing. The USA needs to cleanup this mess because they're the ones forcing the non disclosure clauses. New Zealand also has the same issue.

Re:Australia has this problem as well. (4, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717037)

Australia has the same problem. EFA Tried to sue using Freedom of Information laws to get the same info out of the department of foreign affairs and trade. Same response. All the governments are under an NDA on this thing. The USA needs to cleanup this mess because they're the ones forcing the non disclosure clauses. New Zealand also has the same issue.

If nothing else, it serves to remind us that in most countries, the government is a very separate entity to the people... Ironic given the USA mantra "of the people, by the people, for the people." How a government can be under NDA for a policy that affects their country's people in such a broad manner is beyond ridiculous. Perhaps they are concerned that other governments of the world may gain a competitive advantage? Funnily enough, I'd wager that non-signatories most certainly will.

Sadly, it may be too late for New Zealand. The main sponsor of this act was Minister of Commerce Judith Tizard, who recently lost her office as part of the beaten Labour party in NZ elections, and also lost her electorate as an MP... but nevertheless, the act goes into effect here Feb 28 2009.

Re:Australia has this problem as well. (1)

NimbleSquirrel (587564) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718017)

Feb 29th 2009?

I wonder where you are getting your dates from. ACTA hasn't been finalised, and the NZ Ministry of Economic Development has stated they will make the decision to join the proposed agreement once the public has commented on the final version.

MED's ACTA FAQ [med.govt.nz]

Despite the secrecy surrounding ACTA, the NZ government does have a process that it has to abide by to make ACTA legally binding. Violate any one of those steps, and it could void the enforcement of ACTA in NZ.

Judith Tizard was hoping to push this through by the end of the year, but it seems ACTA negotiations haven't been speedy. I haven't seen anything which suggests that ACTA would be ready by then, or that the government have voted on it before it was dissolved.

It is possible that you're thinking of the Copyright (New Technologies) Ammendment Bill, the Copyright (Artists' Resale Right) Amendment Bill, or the Protocol ammending the TRIPS Agreement, all of which are something entirely different.

Oh, how surprising! (4, Insightful)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716775)

In case none of you know, the EU is pretty much a mislabeled dictatorship. Citizens of the EU have pretty much nothing to say about what goes on or who gets "elected" for this or that. Democracy, pah!

The EU is a very good idea gone horribly wrong. Read me right, I want a united Europe, but not like this. We can vote for people who have get no actual power, yay! We waste money on going from A to B X times a month to not hurt France and Germany's pride, yay! We the people decline on the new "constitution" (what a joke) and they try pushing it through anyways, yay! I could go on, but what's the use...

All the good ideas get tossed, more (insane) regulation nobody wants gets piled. Media pay no attention to it either. What's going on in EU politics? You wont get it from the telly, the paper, or the generic news sites (though Obama is all over the place)...

The EU as a government body is a farce in need of some serious fixing, the only problem is some countries have serious ego and other countries actually care.

Give me the information and my 1/300m'th say in who our new EU overlords are, and I shall welcome them!

Re:Oh, how surprising! (5, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717003)

In case none of you know, the EU is pretty much a mislabeled dictatorship. Citizens of the EU have pretty much nothing to say about what goes on or who gets "elected" for this or that. Democracy, pah!

The EU is a very good idea gone horribly wrong. Read me right, I want a united Europe, but not like this. We can vote for people who have get no actual power, yay! We waste money on going from A to B X times a month to not hurt France and Germany's pride, yay! We the people decline on the new "constitution" (what a joke) and they try pushing it through anyways, yay! I could go on, but what's the use...

All the good ideas get tossed, more (insane) regulation nobody wants gets piled. Media pay no attention to it either. What's going on in EU politics? You wont get it from the telly, the paper, or the generic news sites (though Obama is all over the place)...

The EU as a government body is a farce in need of some serious fixing, the only problem is some countries have serious ego and other countries actually care.

Give me the information and my 1/300m'th say in who our new EU overlords are, and I shall welcome them!

What? Did I hear you whining about the EU? We've been putting up with that sort of crap since at least 1850. It started a war in 1861. The US Federal Government really took advantage of having fewer states to ratify constitutional amendments (well, they had claimed they had suceeded, and the Federal Gov't claimed they hadn't, but didn't include them in the ratification process anyway) and pass all sorts of terrible laws. Have you ever wondered why there's a negative stereotype of the US South?

What's that? I hear you whining about more laws that noone actually wants? May I present to you Franklin Rooseveldt, who got his New Deal to stick even though it was unconstitutional, by threatening to stack the supreme court in his favor. We're still hurting from that one, with an overburdened social security system that I pay into, but will probably be bankrupt when I get to retirement age. Let me present to you one Lyndon Baines Johnson, who intensified that problem, by creating even more entitlements. Furthermore, let me present to you the current crisis, which resulted in $700*10^9 (THAT'S A LOT OF NUTS!) to save corporate investors and debt-owners from their own greed. Let me point out that I didn't get a whole lot of say in that one, and I tried to clearly communicate it to my elected officials.

What's that? I hear you complaining about a lack of power? At least you have more control over your own little area. Our Federal government seems to be able to override a lot of things at the state level (let me be the first to point out that technically, the states were considered the supreme component, holding much the same status as the countries comprising the EU today.) Haven't you noticed that we always end up with one Republican and one Democrat in nearly all elections that win 49% and 50% of the vote? Have you further noticed that most of the time, their policies, despite how they are package, vary rather little from each other?

Maybe you should concentrate on making the EU a better place, looking at the US as an example of what not to do (and some examples of good ideas, lest I forget the extremely simple Constitution, simple enough that even a child can generally understand it). Maybe if you can make the EU a freer place, I'll want to move to one of the countries there. As it is now, The EU and US are going the direction of having telescreens on everyone's wall.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25719081)

Furthermore, let me present to you the current crisis, which resulted in $700*10^9 (THAT'S A LOT OF NUTS!) to save corporate investors and debt-owners from their own greed. Let me point out that I didn't get a whole lot of say in that one, and I tried to clearly communicate it to my elected officials.

$700 billion is a small price to pay when the alternative is the Great Depression. It's not saving corporate investors and debt-owners from their own greed. The entire root of this crisis stems from a few factors:

1. The asset price bubble (fueled mostly by too-low interest rates for too-long).
2. The attempt to spread risk among different people (which means everyone's in hot water, not just the people who made the bad loans).
3. The subprime mortgages, which banks duly made due to the laws of the government.

Stop bitching about the bailout. When half the financial industry is suddenly in deep water, letting them keel over and die seizes the financial market. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fortis, Northern Rock; the national governments of Iceland, Russia, Hungary, Pakistan and many, many more. Those are a small sampling of entities who became financially insolvent. There are trillions of dollars at stake. $700 billion is a freaking bargain next to that.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (3, Informative)

hughk (248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717063)

Note that the problem with the EU comes down to national governments not wanting to cede power. The council is composed of the leaders of the respective governments whilst the commission is headed up by appointees of those governments. The parliament is democratically elected but has insufficient power. The trade commissioner responsible for ACTA (it was one of his "successes") was Mandelson and we know how he has always had his links with business and the media.

The role of British media should also be examined as they love to misrepresent regulations out of context whilst forgetting to inform people about useful things like the matching regional development aid. It seems that the UK has been somewhat inefficient at applying for grants that other countries, i.e., Ireland have done very well out of.

Please remember that the EU has relevance here tro slashdot, given the support for open formats and open source software and the reverse engineering directive which gives rights that are simply not available in the US.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25718421)

> Note that the problem with the EU comes down to national governments not wanting to cede power.

I am not sure about that.

There are very unpopular restrinctions by the EU. Ask milk producers. A government who wants to keep power would leverage the discontent. Instead, they obey. And maybe they don't care about EU directions in other topics.

I think the agendas behind national and EU governments are completely beyond good old fashioned politics.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25719661)

Why should any national government representing it's people want to destroy their sovereignty? My country has changed a lot, and not in a good way, since the EU stuck their oar in. Our public institutions barely work now. Everything the EU touches turns to shit. The EU is not Europe. The people did not ask for this. They were duped every step of the way, and that's when they were asked.

You're a mug if you think the EU has your best interests at heart. Let's talk about how they really operate.

Common Purpose is a recruitment organisation being used to recruit the bureaucrats needed to run Britain when the country is taken over by the European Union.

Common Purpose is a Marxist-led, European Union 'Trojan Horse' fifth column operation and is part of the mechanism being used by Brussels to undermine and soften up British society to pave the way for the take-over of Britain by the European Union Collective of Communist Purpose (EUCCP), also known as the European Union Police State.

The European superstate is designed to be centrally controlled and managed at lower levels by bland and brain dead 'leaders' who are all programmed to think the same. This is where Common Purpose comes in.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717455)

Germany's pride?
Both Brussel and Strasbourg are not in Germany.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (1)

BillyGee (981263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717549)

Completely agree with you, but 1 question - why do you want to be able to have the voting power of 2.4 EU citizens? (EU has 728 million, not 300 million+ people like the US)

You're an ignorant concern troll (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718661)

There is plenty of wrong going on in Europe, but it is also a major factor in stopping stupidity in member countries. The European Parliament stood in the way of the Sarkonazy's three strike bullshit. The commission forced phone line unbundling which resulted in rapid broadband development. And so on and so forth, in many other areas as well.

Re:Oh, how surprising! (1)

theocrite (1348043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25718731)

In case none of you know, the EU is pretty much a mislabeled dictatorship. Citizens of the EU have pretty much nothing to say about what goes on or who gets "elected" for this or that. Democracy, pah!

Eu is not the perfect democracy, we agree on this part. But saying it's a dictatorship where "Citizens [...]have pretty much nothing to say about [...] who gets "elected"", this is not true. The two legislative chambers are :

  • The Council of the European Union, composed by the ministers of all EU countries. That's right you didn't vote for them, but you voted for a government that named them.
  • The European Parliament composed by Euro-deputies elected by direct universal suffrage.

The EU is a very good idea gone horribly wrong.

That's Manichean. It's never a good idea to say "this is all {good,bad}". Some things are bad, some things are good. You speak like someone that lost everything.
EU isn't a lost cause. A lot of good things came from Europe. The fact that MEPs didn't vote for software patents back in 2005 (14 votes against 300+), the fact that MEPs adopted[1] the amendment 138 of the telecoms package (88% of MEPs votes !) and the commission accepted it[2], the fact that they adopted amendments aiming to reduce greenhouse gases (despite the huge lobbying of car manufacturers and oil vendors), etc. are all clues that EU can bring good things when people are watching.
Of course I'm not saying everything is wonderful, but I think that fixing what is broken is a better approach than just saying that EU is a dictatorship, let's burn all and start again from scratch.
I mean, we have to admit that even if it's not perfect, we have something working pretty good, and considering that to make one step, we have to please 27 different countries (used to be less, but it was still difficult), we can easily understand why it wasn't straight forward (We all know that many times, countries had important disagreements).

Media pay no attention to it either. What's going on in EU politics? You wont get it from the telly, the paper, or the generic news sites (though Obama is all over the place)...

That's partially true. classic media don't pay a lot of attention to Europa. That's probably the main problem, more important than the fact that people are elected or not. EU is too far from people. Nobody knows that EU makes that is good for them, but they always know what is bad for them. They even think that good things coming from EU are bad. Why ?
Well because EU is the best thing that happened to our national politicians. "I can't do this, see, EU voted that", "I'd like to please you, but I can't EU doesn't allow me to". This is the best excuse ever. So every time a politician screws up, he can say that's EU fault, thus making people hate it.
That's why we need to promote transparency (which is the subject on this article). We need to make EU closer to people. "Media pay no attention" ? Well, euronews speaks about it. Other media don't ? Well let's watch the good media then. Also we have to promote actions like La quadrature [laquadrature.net] . Laquadrature watches EU when they vote something concerning freedom and internet. ffii [ffii.org] watches EU when it's related to software patents, ACTA and so on. Very few people are watching them, it's true, but as long as few people keep watching them and alerts medias and citizen when needed, well there is still hope.

Give me the information and my 1/300m'th say in who our new EU overlords are, and I shall welcome them!

What is 1/300m ?
AFAIK, EU is 27 states and 500-M citizens.

[1] http://www.laquadrature.net/en/telecoms-package-european-democracys-victory-already-threatened [laquadrature.net]
[2] http://www.laquadrature.net/en/commission-accepts-amendment-138-against-graduated-response [laquadrature.net]

Simple solution to this problem (3, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25716899)

Ok. The EU doesn't want to reveal the documents that appear to have some sort of direct impact on me. So, wouldn't that amount to a secret law of some kind? Ignorance of the law is no excuse, with the exception that the law was intentionally hidden. In other words, a rather pointless law, unless you're trying to write yourself some sort of blank check. Then you're no better off than Soviet Russia or Mao Mao's China.

The EU won't release the paperwork? Well, the simplest solution is "Better the devil I know than the devil I don't. They're hiding something, but it could be potentially bad for me. Since I don't know, it would be best to oppose it in it's entirety." Of course, this yields a known devil (the status quo).

There. Problem solved.

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717067)

The EU doesn't want to reveal the documents that appear to have some sort of direct impact on me. So, wouldn't that amount to a secret law of some kind?

No, it would not.

You have failed to distinguish between an unratified treaty and a ratified treaty. They are negotiating the unratified treaty. It won't apply to you until it becomes a ratified treaty

If it actually starts down the path to ratification, it will not be secret. For example, in the EU, it will have to be submitted to the legislative bodies for approval. In the US, it has to be submitted to the Senate and receive a 2/3 vote and then be signed by the President. I don't know offhand how other counties deal with ratifying treaties--I'm sure you can find out if you look.

Re:Simple solution to this problem (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717309)

The EU doesn't want to reveal the documents that appear to have some sort of direct impact on me. So, wouldn't that amount to a secret law of some kind?

No, it would not.

You have failed to distinguish between an unratified treaty and a ratified treaty. They are negotiating the unratified treaty. It won't apply to you until it becomes a ratified treaty

If it actually starts down the path to ratification, it will not be secret. For example, in the EU, it will have to be submitted to the legislative bodies for approval. In the US, it has to be submitted to the Senate and receive a 2/3 vote and then be signed by the President. I don't know offhand how other counties deal with ratifying treaties--I'm sure you can find out if you look.

Well, I don't think I want the treaty ratified if it applies something to me that I don't like. And of course, if its unratified, and I don't know what's in it (how could it hurt me, potentially), then I'd rather it stay unratified, rather than applying to me.

Price of democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25716939)

80 million dead, previously. Next time, who knows..

Bite this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717131)

Democracy is not worth losing the promise of a nice cushy job from your economic overlord.
Ask the EC ACTA team to demonstrate that this is not so.
++
AC

Secret from who exactly? (2)

vik (17857) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717225)

The EU is not alone. Here in New Zealand we're trying to find out what is in the ACTA and the word is we'll be told when they're ready to vote on it.

Meanwhile you have to wonder who this information is being kept secret from, since all the governments it'll affect already have a copy.

Vik :v)

key word - negotiations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25717685)

they aren't even proposing a law yet, just negotiating. looks like slash hippy's are jumping right past the part where they decide what to be self righteous about.

obama (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717845)

Frankly, if Obama can't pull the U.S. out of its slide into authoritarianism, I don't know what can.  And then the EU and us are both screwed.

By "Third Parties" they mean "The Public" (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717921)

Government and the Business interests that pay them are the first parties. The Third Parties are The Public. When you realize that is their actual meaning, it all makes sense because ultimately, when we find out what they are trying to do, the public outcry will weaken their position as they are negotiating all of our rights away.

What is the price of US free market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25718589)

If you question what is the price of democracy, you have to ask "What is the cost of US free market?". It looks like 700M is enough.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...