Beta
×

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!

Ambassador Claims ACTA Secrecy Necessary

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the censorship-is-tricky dept.

Censorship 407

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "According to Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head of US Trade Representatives, the secrecy around the ACTA copyright treaty is necessary because without that secrecy, people would be 'walking away from the table.' If you don't remember, that treaty is the one where leaks indicate that it may contain all sorts of provisions for online copyright enforcement, like a global DMCA with takedown and anti-circumvention restrictions, three-strikes laws to terminate offending internet connections, and copyright cops. FOIA requests for the treaty text have been rebuffed over alleged 'national security' concerns. One can only hope that what he has said is true and that sites like Wikileaks will help tear down the veil of secrecy behind which they're negotiating our future."

cancel ×

407 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The question is... (5, Insightful)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353392)

If it's an international treaty, then why is the secrecy a "national security" matter?

Re:The question is... (5, Funny)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353520)

it must be INTERNATIONAL SECURITY then. Which obviously means that we have to coöperate to protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Intergalactic pirates trying to steal our music. Must be.

Re:The question is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353734)

Thank you for adding the diacritic. It took me forever to figure out what 'cooperate' meant, and why it was spelled differently than 'recuperate', which clearly means 'to cooperate again'.

Re:The question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353826)

wtf

Re:The question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30354108)

wtf

'Co-operate (work together), 'cooper-ate' (a nonsense word), 're-cooper-ate' (get better).

*shrug*

Re:The question is... (5, Funny)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354196)

it must be INTERNATIONAL SECURITY then. Which obviously means that we have to coöperate to protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Intergalactic pirates trying to steal our music. Must be.

All your bass are belong to us?

I, for one, welcome our new pirate-friendly overlords. SERIOUSLY.

Re:The question is... (0, Redundant)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353550)

The reasons are held secret for reasons of national security. Doh.

Re:The question is... (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353802)

Well, since we're talking about the entertainment industry, it's obviously National Security theater.

In other words, it's bullshit spouted by pathological liars.

Re:The question is... (4, Informative)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353906)

It's not national security as such. Here's the relevant excerpt from a statement from the USTR in response to the article (from the Wired article linked from TFA):

The Administration also recognizes that confidentiality in international negotiations among sovereign entities is the standard practice to enable officials to engage in frank exchanges of views, positions, and specific negotiating proposals, and thereby facilitate the negotiation and compromise that are necessary to reach agreement on complex issues. A unilateral release of text by one trading partner would risk breaching the mutual trust that is important to successful trade negotiations.

International politics is an insanely complex and yet dreadfully boring game played by suits behind closed doors. I'm not personally advocating secrecy, but welcome to the status quo.

From the actual law... (5, Informative)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353996)

The grounds used to deny the FOIA request were 5 USC 552(b)(1), which states (bolded for emphasis):

(b) This section does not apply to matters that are--

(1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

People interpreted that as meaning national security, but it clearly means foreign policy in this instance.

Re:The question is... (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354146)

Sorry, but international politics is no different from national politics, the less light that is shown on the process the more mold that grows in the form of graft, theft, and one sided favoritism for the elites and their supporters. If the process can't hold up to scrutiny then it doesn't need to take place at all.

Re:The question is... (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353928)

When the state considers its citizens the enemy, treaties like this are kept secret for "national security" reasons from the "enemy" that is to say the public, not other states.

Re:The question is... (-1, Troll)

Private-Realtors (1695054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354084)

Yes, that is totally nonsense when national security is brought up for anything the government doesn't feel like telling us, and this "national security" explanation is always thrown around and we are expected never to question it! I say "Power to the People!" Homes to rent in Nampa [private-realtors.info]

I for one, welcome our new overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353414)

I for one, welcome our new overlords.

Re:I for one, welcome our new overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30354028)

Just watch out for the balls hanging over you ...

Is Kirk hinting to us? (5, Interesting)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353418)

Just saying that such a statement seems like a quiet -- yet deniable -- way to ask folks to tear down the secrecy. If he really wanted it to survive, you'd assume he'd be a tiny bit more subtle than, "If this shit is known, this treaty is fucked."

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353578)

If he really wanted it to survive, you'd assume he'd be a tiny bit more subtle than, "If this shit is known, this treaty is fucked."

Can't get your way? Lie. That's what sociopaths are supposed to do, isn't it? How in the hell could copyright have anything whatever to do with national security?

How stupid do they think we are?

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (0, Offtopic)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353854)

How stupid do they think we are?

Well, we did put them in office.
We did vote Bush into the White House.
We did keep voting Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank into the senate, where they helped create the mortgage crisis.

We did vote Barak Obama into the white house, believing that he would somehow SAVE us money by giving everyone government-funded health care, increase government service, AND lower taxes to the point where no one making less than what, $200K will have to pay any taxes. He was also going to get us out of the middle east. How is all of that working out?

Yeah, I do think that they think we are that stupid, because as a whole we are. to quote MIB: "A person is smart; people are dumb." If we were smart as a whole, we'd be voting libertarians into government, keeping government at a minimal size, government "services" (as in defense, police, and maybe infrastructure) would be funded by tariffs, and private citizens would be able to help the less fortunate. We wouldn't be demanding a nanny state.

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (3, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353934)

If we were smart as a whole, we'd be voting libertarians into government

If I weren't a Scotsman, I wouldn't think that was about the funniest thing I've read today.

On the Obama bit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353938)

On the Obama bit, how can you know until AFTER he's been there whether the change will happen?

The other examples, in contrast are where they did bad and were STILL voted in. Quite completely different.

But I suppose you have to slam the black man, in case he slams your women, huh?

Re:On the Obama bit (4, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354162)

But I suppose you have to slam the black man, in case he slams your women, huh?

Typical, someone raises a question about what the government is doing, but because the president is black then anybody who questions him must be racist right? "You're a racist" is such an effective way to censor people these days.

I hope you recognize the irony of just how incredibly racist it is to call "racism" when nothing racist was even hinted at.

Asshole.

Re:On the Obama bit (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354192)

Obvious troll.. ignore everything that is going on because its really about the black man..

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (3, Informative)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354242)

We did keep voting Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank into the senate, where they helped create the mortgage crisis.

Barney Frank is a member of the House of Representatives. Check your own facts and assumptions, carefully, before calling other people "stupid."

Otherwise you just wind up looking like this.

--
Toro

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30354260)

We did vote Barak Obama into the white house, believing that he would somehow SAVE us money

Wait, you voted for Obama because you thought he was going to somehow save money for the US? First of all, if any president wants to "save money" for the US all they need to do is cut a percentage of the defense budget. Secondly, I voted for Obama because I didn't want Palin starting another war, it had nothing to do with whether or not Obama was going to save money for the US. Government healthcare would be a good thing, between healthcare and education that's where our government spending should go.

The DoD alone has a budget of $533B for FY2010, with an additional $755B for "discretionary" programs, and that doesn't include homeland security or national intelligence. The department of health and human services will get about $80B, and the department of education will get about $46B. If a president was interested in saving money they could take $200B of the DoD budget, give both health and education an additional $50B each, and put the other $100B towards the debt. Clearly presidents are not very interested in saving money, because it really doesn't seem very difficult.

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (3, Insightful)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353956)

How stupid do they think we are?

Very. For the most part they'd be right.

Re:Is Kirk hinting to us? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354210)

How stupid do they think we are?

Every 4/8/12 years the US decides that it's greener on the other side of the fence and there's no reason to think that will change, the only ones who could change the system is the duopolists themselves. They know all the dividing lines people won't cross which prevent a third party from ever uniting and becoming a real threat in a winner-takes-it-all system. If it's bipartisan, they know they can basically piss in the face of their voters and exactly nothing will happen.

That is one of the favorite things with the European system, if parties do stupid things they lose rating points, many rating points as people go to adjacent parties. In contrast, voting for the Democrats because you tihnk your fellow Republicans are acting like idiots or vice versa it a much bigger step. You basicly miss a vote that says "I mostly agree with the politics, but not the people. I'm voting in this other similar party." That is why you meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

No, he's not. (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353900)

If Kirk had any interest in increasing transparency in the ACTA negotiations, he'd be able to. He has about a dozen plausible ways:

1. He could say that the Obama administration is interested in transparency, therefore the US will make draft texts public.

2. He could have his office stop denying FOIA requests on the idiotic grounds of "national security."

3. He could say something like, "In light of increasing concern about the transparency (as expressed by groups like the MPAA and the European Parliament), we have opted to release draft texts."

That's just what I can come up with off the top of my head. No, I think his statement is probably honest (in part because I'm guessing he was caught off guard - I've met Jamie Love, and I'm betting the way he posed the question to Kirk put Kirk on the spot).

Also funny (4, Funny)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354022)

When the FFII asked the EU Council of Ministers for opening up the documents regarding the ACTA negotiations, the Council refused [ffii.org] , with (a.o.) the argument that this "might affect relations with the third parties concerned".

So the US can't release it because others might object, and the EU can't for the same reason. Inquiring minds want to know which mysterious third country is kicking both the US and the EU into submission. Canada?

Walking away from the table (5, Interesting)

DeeVeeAnt (1002953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353424)

That would be a bad thing? How exactly?

Re:Walking away from the table (5, Insightful)

LordSkout (1427763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353546)

It would be a bad thing to those who are trying to get make this garbage law. By all appearances, any scrutiny of these plans would inflame the public's ire, and anyone with a public image to care about would not want to collect this kind of tarnish. We can only hope the two senators calling for transparency get some kind of traction going, but Big Media has money in so many pockets, it might be frivolous.

Re:Walking away from the table (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354256)

I am writing my senators with a copy of that letter [slashdot.org] and asking them to join. Doing this by email and real letter. Everyone here should do the same.

ACTA secrecy needed (2, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353426)

Otherwise people would know the extent and bounds of the laws, and avoid breaking them.
Police states need lots of secret laws.

Re:ACTA secrecy needed (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353950)

They don't need to be secret ; they just need to be complex and numerous. You and I probably already broke several laws today, without realising it. Unhappily for us, ignorance is not a defence.

A state that keeps it's law secret wouldn't be bothered about due process either - because they couldn't try these cases in the open, for fear of revealing these laws. At this point, you're just disappearing people you don't like, so you don't need laws, secret or otherwise. The one law becomes "don't piss off The Man".

Of course, there is a point where you just have the appearance of justice. Perhaps we're approaching it. Perhaps we've passed it.

Re:ACTA secrecy needed (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353992)

With the ability to fabricate arbitrary evidence, the laws need not be secret. The scary thing about a police state isn't that people disappear without explanation...it's that explanation is manufactured upon demand.

Well then (5, Insightful)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353466)

If the contents of this treaty are so abhorrent that politicians cannot survive being associated with it, then that seems like a great reason why everyone should walk away from the table.

Re:Well then (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353522)

What do the negotiations matter? The politicians, or most of them, aren't usually involved in negotiations anyways. What counts is the ratification. That's where the politicians wear it.

ACTA may be the worst thing to come along... or not. We will all find out when our national governments begin debates on it. That will suck if you live in a place like China, where the technocrats will decide, but in places like the US and Europe, well, those are democracies states, and there will be debates. But negotiations have to have a certain amount of privacy and autonomy. How else would you even reach agreement?

Except in the US ACTA does not have to be ratified (4, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353778)

What do the negotiations matter? The politicians, or most of them, aren't usually involved in negotiations anyways. What counts is the ratification. That's where the politicians wear it.

Well, ratification would count, except that in the U.S., ACTA is being negotiated as an executive agreement, and thus doesn't require ratification by Congress.

A few Congresspeople have sent a letter to Obama expressing their concern over the secrecy of the treaty, but others are just parroting the line about protecting American business and innovation, etc.

I agree there are good reasons for some negotiations to be kept private, then ratified later. However, when there is no ratification, the negotiation is entirely secret and simply presented to us as a fait accompli, where is the opportunity for public involvement and comment?

Re:Except in the US ACTA does not have to be ratif (2, Informative)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354188)

Well, ratification would count, except that in the U.S., ACTA is being negotiated as an executive agreement, and thus doesn't require ratification by Congress.

There are 3 types of treaties, "Treaties" proper, as defined under the Constitution requiring 2/3 Senate approval, congressional-executive agreements, which are negotiated by the Executive (President), and implemented by Congress by simple majority in both houses as if they were ordinary laws, and sole-executive agreements, which are negotiated and implemented by the Executive branch limited to the manners in which they have authority to do so (instructing the FBI not to enforce certain laws, for example). According to Wikipedia, the latter two types are often prefered because they lack the permanence of Constitutional treaties:

It is desirable, in many instances, to exchange mutual advantages by Legislative Acts rather than by treaty: because the former, though understood to be in consideration of each other, and therefore greatly respected, yet when they become too inconvenient, can be dropped at the will of either party: whereas stipulations by treaty are forever irrevocable but by joint consent...
--Thomas Jefferson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_Clause [wikipedia.org]

Re:Well then (2, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353806)

How else would you even reach agreement?

Have something agreeable to agree on.

Re:Well then (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353808)

What do the negotiations matter?

Because that is where the treaty is constructed. Ratification can potentially occur without substantial debate. The sooner that the details of the treaty are known, the better the terms in my view.

Re:Well then (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353980)

You're either joking, or you wear rose colored glasses.

That will suck if you live in a place like China, where the technocrats will decide, but in places like the US and Europe, well, those are democracies states, and there will be debates

Yeah, like the debates on the PATRIOT act, the Bono act, the DMCA? Dream on, son. Your vote is meaningless. You have two Senators and one representative you can vote for, Time-Warner gets to vote for ALL the Senators, all the congressmen, and all their opponents.

Debate? Yeah, I liked the debates I heard between all five viable* Presidential candidates last election. Oh wait...

* Five parties had their candidates on the ballots in enough states to win, had those candidates actually been reported by the corporate media. Most people think they only have two choices and that a vote for anyone else is wasted, thanks to corporate propaganda spewed by corporate media.

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30354206)

What counts is the ratification.

....

...but in places like the US and Europe, well, those are democracies states, and there will be debates.

Oh, yes - of course there'll be referendums...
Just like there were over the EU constitution.

Re:Well then (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354268)

Actually, if technocrats were making the decisions on this it would probably be thrown out ASAP, but I suspect you're using "technocrat" in that other way...

(Those who don't get it: some people use "technocracy" to describe totalitarian societies)

/Mikael

F*CKING BUSH!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353468)

I'll be glad when we have a new president!

Should all treaties be public? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353474)

Should any draft treaty in Copenhagen be published as it goes, along with all views from all the parties and what they are willing to agree to or not through the negotiations?

As in any other area of life, this is yet another example of "when you want something then create moral laws that give it to you, but when those laws don't work in your favour then forget them".

Re:Should all treaties be public? (5, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353544)

Oh, treaties concerning the military powers should be secret, except of the most general gist ("we are cooperating", "we have a non-aggression pact" and such.)

But this is a treaty about the fucking entertainment industry. Using the "national security" excuse here is a sign of the absolute abuse of power.

Re:Should all treaties be public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353798)

Ok, let's update the laws with that twist.

But Copenhagen still would be public, as it does not relate to the military.

Do you have additional changes to the moral law of publication that would encompass Copenhagen?

Re:Should all treaties be public? (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353994)

But Copenhagen still would be public

Sounds great to me.

Do you have additional changes to the moral law of publication that would encompass Copenhagen?

Why would we want to?

Re:Should all treaties be public? (5, Interesting)

Haxamanish (1564673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353878)

The League of Nations (1919-1946) [wikipedia.org] forbade all secret treaties [wikipedia.org] , especially military ones, since they lead to the Great War (WW1) - outlawing secret treaties was pushed by Woodrow Wilson [wikipedia.org] . It was broken by the Hoare-Laval Pact [wikipedia.org] in 1935, which effectively killed the League of Nations.

Re:Should all treaties be public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353930)

Using the "national security" excuse here is a sign of the abuse of absolute power.

Fixed that for you.

What else scurries when the lights are turned on? (5, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353490)

If people will walk away from the table if they become associated with the effort, then what does it tell you about the effort?

It tells me that ACTA is something that companies want to increase their profits without the bad publicity of trying to throw their "customers" in jail.

Perhaps it's better if we stopped the charade here.

Down with the Government (4, Interesting)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353494)

I am an American Citizen. Not a taxpayer. Not a consumer. A citizen.

My government no longer has my consent to government. I only obey laws out of fear of punishment, not because I believe that such behaviors is correct and moral.

I feel that those who represent us in this country have long ago forgotten the best interests of those they serve, the People, or more correctly, have just decided that it's more profitable serving Corporations and sacrificing essential freedoms for temporary security and monetary reward.

The only way this kind of stupidity and evil will end is with revolution. From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants, or however the exact original goes.

The Government's only purpose is to serve the people, to do for them what they as individuals cannot do for themselves: Infrastructure, Sanitation, Hospitals, and Emergency Services springing immediately to mind.

The Government of the United States has increasingly grown bloated, incompetent, and has increasingly sold out the rights of its Citizens to corporate interests.

We were once the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Now we are the land of timid sheep, beholden to our corporate masters, constantly sacrificing our necessary freedoms to protect Children who would better be protected by their parents actually doing their job and parenting, and to protect us from Foreign threats caused by our own meddling in the affairs of other nations.

It's time to realize that the problem is not whether the politician in the White House is Black or White, Male or Female, Democrat or Republican or Independent.

The problem is that there is a politician in the White House, instead of a Citizen-Servant who is First Among Equals, not elevated to the status of Royalty.

We must abolish the Federal Government as it currently stands and return to the ideals of the Founding Fathers on which they attempted to create a nation: The Inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

No one should have the right to restrict my freedom to do as I wish so long as I do not materially harm another human being.

Down with the Tyrants.

Re:Down with the Government (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353540)

agreed with all you said.

we need more people to see thru the 'BS cloud'.

we need democracy 2.0. 1.0 is bug ridden and ceases to function, at this point. the only thing working IN favor of government is that they're too large to really do the evil they want to do, effectively. imagine the harm this government could do if they really had their act together? scary!

sadly, I don't expect a revolution in our lifetime timeframe. we would have to hit rock-bottom for americans to take to the streets. we've been softened by TV and 'gaming' and other distractions for a long time. we would not know what it means to 'take to the streets' and those in power know this and depend on it.

our system sort of worked about 200 yrs ago. its not at all working now. the sooner we re-invent ourselves, the better. but again, it won't happen because - just because ;(

White Male Land-owners? (5, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353610)

It worked because 200 years ago the only people who had say in gov't were wealthy white land owning men. A fairly homogeneous class that didn't have too many internal divisions. Now-a-days we have a huge spectrum of voters which makes it much harder to agree on anything.

Re:White Male Land-owners? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30354140)

That's an awfully simplistic view. Much more influential is the fact that back then, there were a lot less people and a LOT less government. The 20C saw a tipping point where the size of government increased so much, and contained so many unelected positions, as to become self-sustaining. Sure, you can vote out the guy in charge of the Executive branch, but you won't see any broad support for anyone who will really cut the bureaucracies--too many influential (read: rich) people in the public and private sectors benefit from their existence. Witness Ron Paul's 2008 campaign, which had large grassroots support but ultimately failed* due to negative spin from the establishment and the media.

There's also the fact that our congressional districts hold something like ten times as many people as they should--the decision to freeze the number of reps at 435 was one that resulted in each of us having much less influence on our supposed representatives, and for many people that means much less incentive to participate. There are a number of other reasons the system doesn't work any more, but IMO those are two of the biggest. "White land owners only" is so far down the list as to be wholly insignificant in the grand scheme.

*Failed in the sense that he was not regarded as a serious candidate; not in the sense that he lost the race.

Re:Down with the Government (5, Insightful)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353632)

Oh please. Our system is "working" just fine. 95% of American's get plenty to eat (too much, including me). We get fresh clean water at a moments notice - even the poorest among us can get free clean water. We can even manage jobs for 30+ million illegal immigrants.

America has problems, but to spout revolutionary rhetoric over copyright laws is just as silly as the mountain men in Montana holed up with 100s of guns and 10 years of canned food. It's just that, rhetoric. Stop being an ostrich, a sheep - get involved, get your friends involved. Let your elected officials know exactly how you feel. You are but one voice, but one voice among many - motivate them.

Politics isn't just for the politicians, you know.

Re:Down with the Government (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353782)

95% of American's get plenty to eat (too much, including me).

Only as long as there are oil-rich countries to invade.

Re:Down with the Government (2, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353944)

95% of American's get plenty to eat (too much, including me).

Actually, the ready access to food with poor nutritional content is one of the primary problems with our current system. Getting food that is adapted to our current way of life requires significant income. Look at obesity among the lower class - it's even a problem in Latin America, where our corporations have convinced people that it's better to drink soft drinks than drink fruit juice from fruits plucked fresh off the vine.

If these companies lost their trademarks, it might be harder for them to run these ad campaigns touting the awesomeness of their flavored sugarwater.

Re:Down with the Government (5, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353954)

Sadly, you seem to have missed the entire point.

If you are merely satisfied with having enough calories per day and enough clean water to continue surviving, that's fine. Some of us, however, feel that more than mere physical necessities are necessary for our happiness. Free discourse, without threat of retribution or harm, the freedom to travel as we see fit without the Government saying who may or may not go where based on how politically 'risky' they may be (as the TSA watch-list brings back memories of McCarthy era communist-blacklists), and the ability to be allowed to live our lives in peace so long as we harm no one.

The Government may not punish us for what we may do. It may only punish for what we have done. You cannot lock a man up on suspicion of likelihood of his committing murder, only once he has in fact attempted or committed said murder.

The attitude of the common people, the faex populi, is that security can be purchased. We have been lulled into believing that the world can be made 'safe.' Life in inherently unsafe. Being 'free' means that you give up security.

We are coming all too quickly to a nation where papers are required to move about, where every single aspect of our lives is monitored by the Government for 'suspect' information exchange, and where we, Human Beings, are being treated as commodities and resources to be traded, purchased, and sold, instead of being treated as Human Beings, with inherent dignity and with respect afforded to us.

One need look no further than any modern corporation and its "Human Resources" department to see this mindset. I am not a resource. I am a human being. We have been desensitised to the callous manner in which we commonly treat each other. We have lost, as a nation, the concept of personal responsibility for our actions. There is always someone to blame.

The death of Democracy (which we are, in fact, not -- we are a representative republic) is that of scapegoating.

The People want their bread and circuses. They want someone to blame when things seem bad, be it the Anarchists, the Communists, the Pinko-Commie-Sympathisers in Hollywood, the Hippies, the Socialists, the Terrorists. These targets are paraded in front of the people to drum up the necessary excuse for the acquisition of greater and greater power by the Government. The Government does not need to read my e-mail, or tell me what weapons I may and may not own. If people truly wanted to be safe from gun-totting madmen, the easiest way to do so would to arm everyone so that as soon as a man opened fire on a crowd, everyone in that crowd would be able to respond in kind.

If people truly cared about the lives and living conditions of prostitutes/sex-workers, they would legalise prostitution so that pimps cannot beat their girls without fear of the girls going to the police, so that prostitutes would not be raped in back alleys because their trade would take place in safety and not in secret.

The right to swing one's fist ends where the other man's nose begins. Likewise, the right to dictate correct behaviour ends where your body ends. Murder is not a curtailment of one's freedom (as something being illegal does not stop anyone from doing it), but is a protection of the freedom of others to remain unmolested in their person.

You, and the people like you, are what have driven this country to the dire straits it is in. Government is not a good, sir. It is a necessary evil. It must necessarily, therefore, be kept as small, impotent, and powerless as it can be.

We need no great standing army to defend our nation. If every man and woman who has reached the age of majority was required, as in at least one country I can think of, to keep in their home a fully automatic military weapon, then any invading force would be met with resistance the likes of which our standing army with its tanks and planes and bombs could not match.

The only true way to security is through freedom -- the freedom of the people to be able to defend themselves.

Fill your mind, if you will, with distraction. Feast on your bread and circuses. Some of us have a hunger for something more than a life of glorified slavery, or being a number in a government records office instead of a human being. We desire freedom, sir. We hunger for liberty and thirst of the right to be left alone to live our lives as we see fit.

Re:Down with the Government (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353960)

really, you get free clean water? I have to pay for mine. Seriously. I get a bill every month and if I don't pay it, my source of clean potable water gets shut off.

Re:Down with the Government (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353972)

America has problems, but to spout revolutionary rhetoric over copyright laws is just as silly

and until they come for YOU (by mistake or othewise) things are just Fine and Dandy(tm), yeah?

let me guess, you're a 20something who thinks things are 'just fine'.

wait until you see a bit more of the world and its reality. the time to worry about our trend is now, not later.

but I see your point; you have enough NOW to eat and your TV has not shut itself off and your gaming console still works. you have a mall to go to each weekend and your parent's basement has not rejected you, yet. life is great. why complain?

(grow up! this isn't about copyright, its about FAR reaching things. can't you see that? guess not.)

Re:Down with the Government (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354074)

Somehow I think that if the state knew that people would bring torches and pitchforks to its door every time it tried to pull garbage like ACTA there wouldn't be an ACTA in the first place. The state has little to fear from its citizens any more and so it has the freedom to restrict ours in numerous ways including secret treaties like ACTA. It is a symptom of an underlying flaw in the system.

Re:Down with the Government (3, Interesting)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354176)

Oh please. Our system is "working" just fine. 95% of American's get plenty to eat (too much, including me). We get fresh clean water at a moments notice - even the poorest among us can get free clean water. We can even manage jobs for 30+ million illegal immigrants.

Unfortunately this is a completely wrong measuring stick. By this metrics, one could claim that Roman Empire was "working" just peachy (just as long as you were not a slave or somehow crossed the rich and important), as any and every medieval tin-pot kingdom (just as long as you were nobility), all the way to Nazi Germany (as long as you were Arian and did not oppose the Fascists), Soviet Union (as long as you were not a dissident) ... and the USA (as long as you were not a slave, a Native and as long as there is enough foreigners to get fleeced/invaded/robbed to keep your show going).

In fact every despotic nation in history could claim the same you do at one time or another (usually at the apex of pillaging conquests of other nations, be it military or economic), that people in it had "plenty to eat". As a matter of fact, Iran and China can make the same claim today - clean water and food are available to pretty much everyone in both.

Re:Down with the Government (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353650)

Democracy 2.0 may look prettier, but it'll use new technologies that aren't so widely supported at first, it'll do extra effects that do nothing beneficial and are purely superficial, and it'll slow to a crawl when attempted with anything that isn't from the past couple of years. Are you sure you want Democracy 2.0? ;)

Re:Down with the Government (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353902)

The trouble with Democracy 2.0 is that it will be designed with "Rights Management." May as well call it "Government Vista."

Re:Down with the Government (4, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353766)

I feel that those who represent us in this country have long ago forgotten the best interests of those they serve, the People, or more correctly, have just decided that it's more profitable serving Corporations and sacrificing essential freedoms for temporary security and monetary reward.

I would like to point out that if you are anyone other than a white male in this country, you currently enjoy far more freedom than at any point in our country's history.

We must abolish the Federal Government as it currently stands and return to the ideals of the Founding Fathers on which they attempted to create a nation: The Inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The problem is that there is a politician in the White House, instead of a Citizen-Servant who is First Among Equals, not elevated to the status of Royalty

The only president we've ever had who arguably wasn't a politician is, and this is just arguable, was George Washington. Everybody after him has been a politician.

No one should have the right to restrict my freedom to do as I wish so long as I do not materially harm another human being.

Alright, this is NOT what the Founding Fathers believed in. If this is what you want, fine, I actually agree that ideally this should be the goal of our society (though I would add "harm another living thing unnecessarily"), but our Founding Fathers would NOT agree with this.

Re:Down with the Government (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353792)

fuck yeah. That's the single most sensible post I've ever read on /.

Re:Down with the Government (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353830)

I agree with what you said. There are too many politicians in the whitehouse and congress and not enough civil-servants. Indeed, there are too many politicians in the state legislature, and with Palin as an example, there are often too many politicians running our towns too.

The eternal question is, what is the solution?

What's a real, and by real I mean enforceable and fair, way to keep "politicians" out of government? You can start a bloody revolution(most extreme example, I know there are degrees of "bloody" here) to overthrow the gov't, but how can you be sure the new guys that get there aren't politicians in disguise. And if they aren't how do you keep the "right" people in power?

Democracy 2.0, politics without politicians, is a great tag line, but what does it actually consist of?

Re:Down with the Government (1)

Haxamanish (1564673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354208)

The eternal question is, what is the solution?

In the present democratic systems the only choice is between several persons/parties who admit they strife for power (definition of a "candidate").

The representatives could however be appointed for a single term by a lottery in stead of an election. Everybody is a candidate, including convicted criminals (since the definition of a crime is temporal & it would be too easy to pervert the system by convicting all your political adversaries) and including those people who don't want to be a representative (they might even be the best candidates). It would guarantee an even spread over the population and they wouldn't care about being re-elected. (I didn't come up with this idea, the first time I read it was in The Songs of Distant Earth [wikipedia.org] by Arthur C. Clarke)

Re:Down with the Government (2, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353846)

Nobody will revolt as long as food, shelter, television and mind altering drugs are cheap and widely available. Even in places like Haiti, which has much worse conditions than the USA, no significant part of the population is revolting.

That being said, I'm skeptical that our new soviet planners in the Congress of Goldman Sachs can continue that happy situation indefinitely. Central economic planning tends to fail eventually.

Re:Down with the Government (1)

savanik (1090193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353952)

If it's true you feel that way, then stop giving the government your money. It's one thing to say that the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots et al. It's another to actually start doing it. Civil disobedience is a form of revolution - and part of civil disobedience is knowing the consequences of it and to willingly suffer them in the name of your principles.

Besides, if enough people refuse to pay their taxes at once due to a lack of faith in the government, the government won't have enough places to put them.

That aside - while I agree that our government is bloated, it's not actually /that/ incompetent, compared to the average corporate environment. I'd say they're pretty average, and quite capable of providing the infrastructure support and freedoms I require for my life. While I grumble about the amount of taxes I pay and believe we should pay less, it's hardly disenfranchising my citizenship at the moment.

Re:Down with the Government (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354044)

Let's get this into context:

I only obey laws out of fear of punishment, not because I believe that such behaviors is correct and moral.

Do you feel this about *all* laws? Including the ones prohibiting driving on the left and murdering people?

No? OK, so presumably you only feel this way about a proportion of laws. Of the thousands on the statute book, roughly how many do you only obey out of fear?

Re:Down with the Government (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354110)

You can drive your car however you damn well please, as long as it is in a fashion that does not threaten the safety of others.

That wasn't that hard, was it?

Re:Down with the Government (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354230)

You can drive your car however you damn well please, as long as it is in a fashion that does not threaten the safety of others.

Actually, we live in a capitalism, so you can drive your car however you damn well please as long as you are willing to pay for it. If you spend enough money you can get access to various places you can drive your car as much as you like. If enough people want to do it you can form a league, call it a sport and do it on public roads, as they do in the World Rally Championship or in various GT races. And in fact some people are willing to spend enough money on it (or enough effort attracting people who will spend money) that we have places that have been built expressly for the purpose of allowing people to watch other people drive around like mad bastards.

We also live in an imperfect world, so you can drive your car however you damn well please as long as you can get away with it, for good or ill...

Contact Us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353568)

http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/contact-us/your-comment

Hard to see the redeeming qualities (4, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353604)

On one hand, I see why a treaty like ACTA might be desirable to establish a common copyright law across all nations. Especially given how much copyright infringement is going on between nations and how hard it is to enforce laws nationally when the economy and the access is global. I can also understand that they may not want to disclose the nitty-gritty of the treaty until they have a lot of the kinks worked out so that parts that will get changed aren't attacked and destroy hope for the treaty ever being passed in any form.

However, everything I've heard about it, admittedly "leaked", is terrible. They're using the secrecy of the process to hide the severeness of the treaty rather than "working out the kinks". Also, the treaty seems very much focused on protecting America's corporate copyrighted interests rather than respecting the authors and the people who use the author's works. This is a huge opportunity to fix our system, but instead it's being used to make everyone else's more broken.

Re:Hard to see the redeeming qualities (4, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353976)

On one hand, I see why a treaty like ACTA might be desirable to establish a common copyright law across all nations. Especially given how much copyright infringement is going on between nations and how hard it is to enforce laws nationally when the economy and the access is global.

We already have plenty of international agreement on copyright law: the Berne convention, WIPO copyright treaties, the TRIPS agreement, etc. All of those have plenty more signatories than ACTA will have, anyway.

There are also more appropriate venues to be negotiating changes to international copyright law (namely, WIPO). ACTA is not being negotiated there because WIPO requires transparency and broad participation, and ACTA's supporters know that it would not stand a chance at WIPO.

From what I have heard from people who have seen ACTA, as well as the few leaks about it, the reason it's being kept so secret is because it is exporting a lot of crappy US policy, including fundamentally flawed bits, like the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA.

NO !! (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354114)

A common copyright law is fundamentally flawed. Any laws regulating fast moving technologies need Thomas Jefferson's "Laboratories of Democracy". If anything, we should pass a constitutional amendment giving the states the sole right to regulate copyrights and patents.

Required (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353614)

If people would walk away from the table if the text was made public then that is all the more reason to make the text public. Not because I want people to leave the talks but, if people are unwilling to participate in talks if it's open to public scrutiny then there is no more obvious an indication that those talks should not be happening.

Most of these ideas will pass (2, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353616)

... and though most of us won't want it, most of us won't really do or say anything until our friends, family, and selves, are spending time in jail or paying huge fines for actions we generally thought were harmless.

Like the opinion machine on TV is gonna spin it any other way than 'we need it, you just don't know it'.

Some questions (1)

Cacadril (866218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353628)

Kirk says the treaty will be published when it is finished - how long does the public have for filing responses and objections before the treaty becomes law? What possibilities are there for modifications? If the public, or their congressmen, want a modification, must the treaty be renegotiated? In what ways does ACTA affect national security? What other nations insist on secrecy for "national security" reasons? Who would walk away? Why would they walk away? Why is that bad? How is this different from any other international treaty? What other treaties have been negotiated in secrecy and published when "finished"?

Re:Some questions (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353762)

Treaties have to be ratified by the senate. Many senators will want to pass it (I assume) but you can expect others on both sides of the aisle to have some objections. Democrats will likely have problems with the three strikes rule because it (probably) lacks due process, and Republicans will see it as another example of American sovereignty being hurt. I don't see this being ratified, therefore the US will probably not sign on to it.

Re:Some questions (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354240)

According to a poster above the whole ratification thing will be sidestepped via Executive Agreement. I'm not even sure why we have a Constitution when all of our politicos on *both sides* of the aisle ignore it whenever it suits them.

Re:Some questions (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353772)

> Kirk says the treaty will be published when it is finished - how long does
> the public have for filing responses and objections before the treaty
> becomes law? What possibilities are there for modifications?

The point of the secrecy is to prevent modifications. Once the governments all agree on a text it will be presented to the legislatures for ratification and implementation on an "all or nothing" basis, with the argument that "If you make any changes we'll have to go back and renegotiate the whole thing".

Corporate lobbyists public ??? (2, Insightful)

moz25 (262020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353638)

Okay, so the text *is* shown to corporate lobbyists, but *not* to the public?

He's worried about people walking away from the table? No kidding. People *should* walk away from such a table!

Fixing the quote... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353680)

According to Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head of US Trade Representatives, the secrecy around the ACTA copyright treaty is necessary because without that secrecy, people would be 'throwing a tantrum, chucking their toys out of the pram and generally having a paddy on behalf of their paying taskmasters (the entertainment industry).'

There, fixed that for him!

When will the rule of law next be used in the interests of the public as a whole rather than of the corporations? (and no, I don't mean "we should be free to do teh piratez! making money is wrongz", I mean sensible law that benefits society as a whole).

Table? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353694)

You can keep you table Mr. Kirk.

Indefensible (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353722)

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
George Orwell

Secrecy is necessary to plan the indefensible; what's rare is the Ambassador's honesty in admitting it.

Don't believe in imaginary property? (0, Troll)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353726)

Well, thanks then. I'll take your stocks, bonds, REITs, life insurance and the cash in your wallet, which after all, are all fundamentally just imaginary.

Re:Don't believe in imaginary property? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353842)

Oh go away. This is not about belief systems. It's about the use of money to buy political power, against the greater good. Stocks and bonds generally work in society's interest. 75-year copyrights do not. If your belief system is so solid, would you allow your streets to be privatised, your air, your language? The more property the better, right?

Wrong. Different types of property work different ways. Owning culture and not allowing sharing works to keep the rich richer. Sharing culture, with appropriate ownership of the results, makes everyone richer. This is why many here will trust software copyright while mocking patents and 3-strikes laws.

If you can't grasp these subtleties, go away.
 

Re:Don't believe in imaginary property? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30354042)

Actually, the first four are forms of contracts. OP isn't complaining about contracts, or about the government enforcing them. The fifth used to be a contract until the federal government broke it. Regardless, all of them are inherently scarce and therefore do not require coercive monopoly to retain value. The creation of ideas and art is also inherently scarce, and I for one hope that inventors and artists of all kinds are paid for performing this valuable ability of theirs. It's up to them, really, since at the point of creation no one has access to it but them.

Fuck 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30353730)

OK, fine, anybody who would walk away from the table if the negotiations were open, good riddance!

Wouldn't this kind of thing be illegal ..... (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353736)

if anything but governments were involved in it? Why does all of this ACTA stuff sound so much like "conspiracy"?

Judge Dredd (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353804)

With laws like this I get a very 'Judge Dredd' type image of the future, with the twist that you aren't told what the laws are, so you don't know which laws you are breaking.

Actually what bothers me is if the government is indeed working for the people of their nation, then why so much secrecy, unless we are talking national defence? Has the idiocy of copyright extremism really become a factor of national defence? How long until the big media companies are allowed to have their private armies.

Corporate Armies (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30354070)

Corporate armies like the controversial Blackwater (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Worldwide [wikipedia.org] )? To my knowledge the US is the only country (of any significance) where mercenaries are in fact legal and hired by the government.
Guess what these people will do once the war is over... 'private corporate security', whatever you call it It's still a fucking army!

FOIA lawsuit (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353810)

> FOIA requests for the treaty text have been rebuffed over alleged 'national
> security' concerns.

Has a lawsuit been filed over this yet?

Sounds like a lot of bad ideas (4, Insightful)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353864)

I just wrote the President, I urge you to do the same. I think they deserve to get slashdotted in that way. Tell them what you think and that there Is interest in the topic and that you have an opinion. Then they have some more information on which to base a decision, especially when you think that this is an issue that effects all the people.

What I am concerned about is that this looks like an end run by another group that was seeking net non-neutrality. In this case the corporate owners of copyrights, here we know that it is not the singer song writter (like it ever was) that is being effected, or for that matter consulted. It appears as though big corporations, I suspect news and entertainment are a big part of it as well as software companies. That want to get a hand on the internet spigot to have prior-constraint control over information especiall information they feel they own. But then I suspect a handful of countries would love to have access to request internet connection be broken for filtered if they think the message is not what they want. That is being done in China now certainly and the some Middle Eastern countries. That is not a good trend. It would be like only being allowed to listen to Fox news all day, is it really fair and balanced and calling it news might be a stretch. And it is a small step from corporate control to a corporate state (or one that is corporate controlled).

The key here is the controls that are being hinted at may not be in the countries , or the worlds best interest. We need to know what they are contemplating before we as a people are committed to an action that effects our information infrastructure. We own it, not them. They forget that sometimes.

You know what they say... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353884)

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear!

Maybe that's a sign.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30353946)

If they figure that they would walk away from it, one would think that might be a clue that it's not a particularly good thing in the first place.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?