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EU Privacy Chief Says ACTA Violates European Law

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the ain't-nobody's-business-if-i-do dept.

Privacy 136

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has issued a 20-page opinion expressing concern about ACTA (PDF). Michael Geist's summary of the opinion notes that it concludes that the prospect of a three-strikes and you're out system may violate European privacy law, that the possibility of cross-border enforcement raises serious privacy issues, and that ACTA transparency is needed now."

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136 comments

Seems fairly intelligent... (5, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243414)

One of the points he makes, which is a good one, is that data-sharing for enforcement purposes among countries that have different criminal punishments for copyright law is hard to justify. It also makes me wonder if--for example--I live in a country with fair use and a country with more stringent fair use policies wants to go after me for copyright infringement... well, you see the issues. Will the country with the most stringent policies suddenly be the equivalent of the patent troll district in Texas?

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (5, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243484)

Will the country with the most stringent policies suddenly be the equivalent of the patent troll district in Texas?

They already are. That is why they came up with ACTA in the first place.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (2, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244616)

Will the country with the most stringent policies suddenly be the equivalent of the patent troll district in Texas?

They already are. That is why they came up with ACTA in the first place.

You forgot to add, that the ACTA is designed to make every country behave like That Texas District [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243572)

Don't worry, someone who makes sense like him will be promptly removed from office.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (4, Insightful)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243710)

Good point. I certainly hope not. Copyright is already problematic in that copying is built into nature, so going against it is swimming upriver - they're better off going with either a pledge-money-for-band-X's-new-album system or else lowering prices so far that downloading illegally just doesn't make sense anymore (especially if you can get it automatically sorted into the right folders with ID3 tags just they way you want 'em). Lower prices to 10c / song and I'll immediately spend $200. Add the right to re-download whenever you want and you've got a business model. Although on a practical note, there's no reason bands can't do tat themselves. There's plenty of platforms available for it.

On the side: There's a Facebook group I started in the hope to raise awareness, with the ultimate goal being to petition / lobby governments. Feel free to join, it's called We need 5m people to prevent the labels killing internet freedom with ACTA.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243830)

Although on a practical note, there's no reason bands can't do tat themselves. There's plenty of platforms available for it.

And that's exactly the reason you'll never see anything like this happen by the big studios. Offering this business model poses the (quite real) threat that it just might work out. And then even the dimmest bands can easily see that there is zero reason to dump the lion's share of their revenue down the mouth of the studios.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (5, Insightful)

Proteus Child (535173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244034)

On the side: There's a Facebook group I started in the hope to raise awareness, with the ultimate goal being to petition / lobby governments. Feel free to join, it's called We need 5m people to prevent the labels killing internet freedom with ACTA.

That's great. How do you propose we go about it? Just sitting around in a Facebook group bitching won't accomplish anything.

Who do we write to? Who do we call? What are they in charge of? What power (realistically) do they have over the situation? Do we tell them that we back them, or that we're against their support of ACTA?

We need actionable information, or pointers to where we can find it. Anyone know where to start?

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0, Troll)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245612)

We need actionable information, or pointers to where we can find it. Anyone know where to start?

Here's a start [gunsamerica.com] .

Unless you still think letter-writing and phone calls are going to make a difference at this point.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31246660)

That sounds like the exact kind of thing that should be linked to from the Facebook group... :/

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (2, Informative)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31246776)

If I recall correctly, currently the US Trade Representative [wikipedia.org] is acting as the United States representative* to the ACTA talks (officially). That said, you can find the office of the US Trade Rep here [ustr.gov] . Currently, the man serving on that post is Ron Kirk [wikipedia.org] . You can find contact information for the USTR here [ustr.gov] . A further Google search for, "US ACTA representative," turns up these results [google.com] , the first of which appears to be a boingboing site requesting public input regarding ACTA (I cannot confirm this as I cannot access boingboing from work).

That should get you started. If you want more information, I suggest using Google and improving your Google-Fu friend. The intrawebz are your friend ;)

*: I am making the assumption that you are a United States citizen. This, of course, is based on absolutely no facts, as you have revealed nothing regarding your nationality. If you are not from the US, you can still probably use Google and Wikipedia to do your own search regarding your ACTA representatives. Say what you will that such an assumption is based on hedonism and/or nationalism, but I have nothing better to go off as you have revealed no information regarding the country of your residence/origin.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244920)

We need 5m people to prevent the labels killing internet freedom with ACTA.

With 5m members willing to vote, you could get more seats in European Parliament than Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, and the Green Party combined [wikipedia.org] Many more than the Conservatives hold by themselves, and the same as Labour and Conservative together.

I believe you with your 5m people making a difference, but a facebook group isn't the way. Get voters.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243734)

>>>data-sharing for enforcement purposes among countries that have different criminal punishments for copyright law is hard to justify

Not really. The U.S. member states constantly share information across borders and it's justified as "being tough on crooks". The EU member states will likely do the same, if not now, then in the near future.

What I'm surprised he did not address is the violation of the Right to a trial by your peers (jury). The 3-strike law presumes guilt without any requirement that the state prove its case FIRST. Although this may sound harmless, I can easily imagine the state government, or a progressive leader, using the 3-strike law to silence bloggers/reporters he doesn't like by making false 3-strike claims. In such a case the connection gets cut automatically (presumed guilt), the blogger is silenced, and the leader smiles.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244020)

[quote]What I'm surprised he did not address is the violation of the Right to a trial by your peers (jury).[/quote]

That is because such a (ridiculous) thing does not exist in most European countries. See the Wikipedia entry on Civil Law [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245310)

>>>That is because such a (ridiculous) thing does not exist in most European countries. See the Wikipedia entry on Civil Law.

A wise man once said, "People may think you are stupid. Don't open you mouth and prove them right." First off, it's not ridiculous to have a trial by your peers, since it is your peers that have the power to block the government from acting unjustly. Second, a 3-strike law where the *government* disconnects the internet as *punishment* would be CRIMINAL law not civil. And finally the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights does not have a right of trial by your peers, but it does still have the right to a trial:

Article 47 - Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial
Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right toan effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article. Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law. Everyone shall have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented. Legal aid shall be made available to those who lack sufficient resources in so far as such aid is necessary to ensure effective access to justice.

Article 48 - Presumption of innocence and right of defence
1. Everyone who has been charged shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to
law. 2. Respect for the rights of the defence of anyone who has been charged shall be guaranteed.

Receiving punishment (your internet cut off) without trial violates article 47. It also violates article 48 because it presumes guilt without the government having to prove its case.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (2, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244212)


Not really. The U.S. member states constantly share information across borders and it's justified as "being tough on crooks".

Like how we manipulated Mexico and Central America to be our battlegrounds in our "War On Drugs?" Smooth move! One would think Europeans would be too smart to fall for this though.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245216)

No, GP is talking about how Texas and Louisiana share information, for instance. The U.S. "manipulation" of Mexico and Central America is a different issue entirely.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245338)

>>>>>Not really. The U.S. member states constantly share information across borders and it's justified as "being tough on crooks". The EU member states will likely do the same, if not now, then in the near future.
>>>>>
>>
>>Like how we manipulated Mexico and Central America

Neither Mexico nor central America are member states of the U.S., so your point has absolutely nothing to do with what I said.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245432)

I beg both of your pardons. It's just that I read an article not too long ago of fears that the battle for the US drug market would spill over the border and that was the first thing that came to mind.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244926)

Jury law trials are uncommon in countries whose legal system is based on civil law (read roman law). Most EU countries are civil law countries, so jury trial is of very little importance.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245016)

Ehmm, trial by peers? What's that then? This is Europe we're talking about. These days trial by jury is mostly a US/UK phenomenon. [wikipedia.org] .

As for your concern...using the 3 strikes law to silence a blogger/reporter seems like a tiny risk compared to the others. What's to stop said reporter/blogger from walking over the nearest newspaper/tv-station and getting his story out that way?

I can easily imagine the state government, or a progressive leader (emphasis mine)

Ah, I see you're a fan of Glenn Beck.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245446)

>>>As for your concern...using the 3 strikes law to silence a blogger/reporter seems like a tiny risk compared to the others. What's to stop said reporter/blogger from walking over the nearest newspaper/tv-station and getting his story out that way?
>>>

Well if we imagine that the person who was cut-off was an anti-government blogger/reporter like Alex Jones of infowars.org, then he really does NOT have the recourse to ask the pro-government organizations like BBC or NBC or CBS to carry his report, does he? He has been silenced.

There's a line from Star Trek, about how even one trampled freedom or right forges the first link in a chain that will eventually bind us all. It is correct. Leaders should not have the ability to simply say, "That guy violated the 3-strike law," and silence them without benefit of trial.

>>>Ah, I see you're a fan of Glenn Beck.

And Judge Napolitano, and Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and Andrew Jackson, and anyone else who (wisely) thinks neither government nor its leaders can be trusted with power, and it's time we start enforcing the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245704)

There's a line from Star Trek, about how even one trampled freedom or right forges the first link in a chain that will eventually bind us all. It is correct. Leaders should not have the ability to simply say, "That guy violated the 3-strike law," and silence them without benefit of trial.

There's also a line in Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay, about how freedom without limitations is really just a word.

My point is that there are consequences that are a lot less far-fetched than the heroic individual blogger who gets disconnected. Arbitrarily disconnecting soccer moms or Joe Sixpacks is just as bad, and a lot more likely to happen without any ruckus.

As for Glenn Beck, let's just see if he spouts the same rhetoric when it's a "leader" pulling the exact same crap while flying the conservative banner. You do realize ACTA is a big business interest right? Something the left traditionally opposes? The real left, that is?

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31246524)

>>>There's also a line in Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay, about how freedom without limitations is really just a word.

And there's a debating tactic called "strawman argument" which is what you just did. I never said freedom should not have limitations. As Jefferson said, "No man has a right to harm another, and that's all the government should restrain him." A blogger like Alex Jones, although a bit of a nutter, does not physically harm anyone by exercising his right of free speech, so there's no reason to silence his internet website (or give leaders a tool to do so).
.

>>>Arbitrarily disconnecting soccer moms or Joe Sixpacks is just as bad, and a lot more likely to happen without any ruckus.

Agreed. You might have pointed that out in your previous post, instead of just leaving me guessing what you meant when you said: "silence a blogger/reporter seems like a tiny risk compared to the others," and that the reporter can just go to a TV station to air his views. You made it sound like you were in FAVOR of the 3-strike law silencing reporters (especially since you apparently think trials by juries are "ridiculous").
.

>>>You do realize ACTA is a big business interest right? Something the left traditionally opposes? The real left, that is?

I don't buy that. Leftists like Obama and Pelosi are bending-over backwards to please the Hollywood types and arrest citizens who download a song or movie. Most leftists want to *integrate* business & government such that business is privately-owned, but government is running the board and making decisions. They call it a "third way" halfway between capitalism (free market) and communism (government-run market).

As for Beck and the next conservative president, he has said (multiple times) that we haven't had a single good president in the last 100 years except for Reagan, and on that point I agree with him. If it turns-out our next president is non conservative, but Beck praises him anyway, then I'll stop listening to Beck. After all I'm not married to the man - I just find his show informative (such as learning that Obama's communication director thinks Mao is her favorite philosopher).

BTW: I find it interesting you did not know about the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244092)

Or more importantly, with the one sided extradition treaty between the UK and USA running, can I be extradited to East Texas and put on a chain gang for breaking some cock-eyed patent claim filed over there? Once they make breaking software patents a criminal offense, patent trolls will be able to have any programmer on the planet that annoys them locked up.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (0, Offtopic)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244134)

Further, if any U.N. police show up on my doorstep or anyone representing the laws of another country for the purpose of enforcement, they will leave horizontally. Any legislation leading to this event make its practitioners subject to revolt as implied by second amendment rights. This ACTA bullshit is not very well thought out.
          With the antics brought about in this 4 years, I predict the next major election will be quite disappointing for both Democrat and Republican parties.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244380)

You aren't by chance a pilot from Austin, TX, are you? ;)

another false flag with a patsy attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31246624)

Just FYI, and this isn't getting a lot of mainstream coverage yet, and probably won't for obvious reasons, an eyewitness to that plane crash at the austin building matter of factly stated to a TV reporter, standing there as the building is still burning, with neither understanding the implications, that the fire department and hazmat team were right there near the building before the plane hit. Just sort of hanging around. It's up on youtube now.

Re:Seems fairly intelligent... (2, Insightful)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245236)

Unfortunately, it will probably be your local police showing up at your doorstep, enforcing your own country's laws. That law being to comply with another country's laws. . .

I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243424)

So after reading a bit of his "opinion" piece (written way more formally than any opinion piece I've read), it seems that without reading the full extent of ACTA he is dead set against it. Any aspect he has heard of (most likely through Doctorow or Geist) he makes a case for it being a violation of privacy. Without even reading all of it, he knows it's illegal. His title sounds like he should have been invited to these proceedings but I think I can decipher why he wasn't invited ...

I agree with him but it sounds like he would be opposed to anything they could dream up. And maybe that's the way it should be ... maybe privacy and international IP/copyright enforcement are inseparable. Not being an expert, I cannot say. I am fairly certain, however, that each country has to pass this into law once the countries agree on a basis. I will say that my representative and senators had better damn well represent the majority of the population and I hope that majority is with me on this. What the EDPS should do is continue to demand transparency but also get the citizens and all the members of the EU to promise not to pass this into legislation without transparency right now.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (2, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243494)

His title sounds like he should have been invited to these proceedings but I think I can decipher why he wasn't invited ...

His title? "Data Protection Supervisor"? Give me a break. Unless you're a Czar, you aren't qualified to weigh in on these things.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (2, Informative)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243582)

Ah, whatever the majority wants. Wanna lynch a few pesky minorities too, while you're at it?

I could care less about what the majority wants. Simply put ACTA is a political scam, like everything else politics, and he damn well has every right to be dead-set against whatever they're doing because it sure as hell isn't going to be good. The fact that it's behind closed doors should tell you that much.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (4, Funny)

M-RES (653754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243652)

I could care less about what the majority wants.

You COULD? Personally I COULDN'T care less... I wonder why you care so much about the majority? ;p

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243884)

I could care less about what the majority wants, because I care a lot. I'm strictly for democracy and against totalitarianism, even if I were the one elected dictator.

I think there should be another layer legislation has to go through -- when the Prez signs a bill it becommes a referendum, and must be voted for by over 50% of the population before it becomes law.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244244)

Cut out the middlemen then. Let someone write a bill and submit it to the white house for immediate addition to the next election's ballot as a referendum.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244838)

We only get 50% turnout on SOME presidential elections.
If we required 50% of the population to vote on it, then nothing will ever get passed.
There are reasons why we do things the way we do them, ~50% of our population simply don't care for polics.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31245538)

1) Spend more money on roads (yes) (no)
2) Tax my income to pay for roads (yes) (no)
3) Tax SOMEONE ELSE'S income for roads (yes) (no)
4) Something bad happened, think of the children! (yes) (no)

What would be the result of this ballot?

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31245926)

Now, I know in your mind you were being pedantically witty by correcting the post parent to yours. So allow me to do so as well.

The grandparent post is right, we should all be able to care less what the majority wants. Because the majority, whether it be in a good or bad direction, steers the ship we are all on. Their opinions are something we should care about.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243668)

But this is the problem. We've got these top secret negotations that are clearly secret, because there will be massive opposition to them, (else there'd be no reason to keep them secret) and the hope is that they can slip these laws into each country without the populace even noticing. If even half the law makers aren't party to the negotiations they can only go by what is available.

These sorts of laws like 3-strikes really do breach the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also specifically in terms of the right to fair trial, and the reasonable right to privacy. Further, most countries have laws derived from the Geneva convention to govern related and similar civil matters, such as to protect against collective punishment, which is a war crime under the Geneva convention- cutting off internet access to a household for the action of one clearly also breaches this.

So we've got this situation where governments are trying to pass these laws regardless, even though they are clearly in conflict with existing, more fundamental laws. In Europe, this has happened repeatedly this last decade with the likes of the British government's DNA database storing DNA of the innocent and so forth, and the end result is always the same - the law gets deemed illegal in itself by the European Court of Human Rights and change has to happen, or governments will face penalty, but in the meantime it is citizens who have to deal with all the shit.

So regardless of whether this guy is right or wrong, it doesn't really matter, he's making comments based on what he does know, and that's really key, because if at least he can make the point heard that it's about time they start thinking of the consequences and repercussions of the laws, and whether they are legal BEFORE they implement them, then that's a good thing. I don't however, hold much faith, because those passing such laws seem to do so on the hope that no one will notice said laws have been passed- but we do notice, because we're the ones they potentially effect.

Good on him for making the point regardless, they need to know that we are listening, we do know about it, and that these laws will end up just being shot down by the courts anyway.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243818)

But this is the problem. We've got these top secret negotations that are clearly secret, because there will be massive opposition to them, (else there'd be no reason to keep them secret)

I don't quite agree with you there. People have all sorts of different reasons for keeping legislation secret until it is proposed ranging from strategically hiding it from your opposition thereby reducing their reaction time to simply not having a solid foundation built yet. If you've got a shaky idea of what all the players want out of this deal, you shouldn't be publishing the initial draft of the documentation. This leads to confusion and gives opponents fodder. Let's say the countries that came to the table eventually reject the international three strikes rule but later have problems passing a better version of ACTA that actually tries to achieve a solution without invading privacy. Even the opinion piece acknowledges a need for a solution:

The EDPS acknowledges that the cross-border trade in counterfeit and pirate goods is a growing concern that often involves organized criminal networks, which calls for the adoption of appropriate cooperation mechanisms at international level in order to fight against this form of criminality.

No matter how good that amended solution may be, you and I aren't going to care. We're only going to remember the stories on Slashdot and know that ACTA = EVIL. So with this early exposure, the thing is dead before it can be reformed and amended.

On top of that, how do you get all the big players to the table if the documentation is floating around that angers the hell out of their constituents. "If so and so goes to that summit, I'm never voting for her/him again" is what one might say.

I mean, the leaked documentation is damning but you have to consider that bills proposed here in the USA always have flaws that get worked over and over before it's passed. To claim otherwise is a bit disingenuous.

Keeping proposed legislation secret (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244120)

I have to disagree with you in this:

People have all sorts of different reasons for keeping legislation secret until it is proposed ranging from strategically hiding it from your opposition thereby reducing their reaction time to simply not having a solid foundation built yet. If you've got a shaky idea of what all the players want out of this deal, you shouldn't be publishing the initial draft of the documentation. This leads to confusion and gives opponents fodder. Let's say the countries that came to the table eventually reject the international three strikes rule but later have problems passing a better version of ACTA that actually tries to achieve a solution without invading privacy.

That's exacty what corrupts democracy from an open discussion of ideas towards a power game more akin to chess playing. Entertaining, but missing the point.

One of the pieces of US legislation I'm most envious of, as an European is FOIA (the time span should be considerably shorter, but over here, governments are free to keep things secret forever).

Keep politics and admin honest by making known as much as possible as early as possible.

Re:Keeping proposed legislation secret (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245770)

One of the pieces of US legislation I'm most envious of, as an European is FOIA (the time span should be considerably shorter, but over here, governments are free to keep things secret forever).

That's not entirely true; the UK is both a member state and has a Freedom of Information Act, though I confess I've neither read ours nor the US one, so can't compare the two. More details on the UK one are available on the OPSI website [opsi.gov.uk] .

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (4, Insightful)

blackchiney (556583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244144)

You could be correct. But what has come out of the meetings so far isn't very promising. Leaders are reluctant to share it with constituents because they know they could never pass it in its current form. If you want to see how secrecy can topple a legislative process look no further than the US healthcare bill. The much more public House version passed with what most people would be satisfied with. The extra secret Senate version was a travesty. Meetings with healthcare companies, no input from the public (who later on expressed their anger the only way they could by firing these idiots) and here we are today. A bill that cannot pass in its current form because no one likes it. The good news is the WH, senate, have finally realized the healthcare industry doesn't keep you in washington, people that vote do. Ignoring their questions long enough means you'll be out a job soon. ACTA is like that. Other, more meaningful, treaties (like child slavery, sex trafficking) have passed in less time with majority support. If ACTA was so great it wouldn't take half a decade to be in the "discussion" phase. But it's garbage, they know it and they know we know it.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (2, Interesting)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244210)

No matter how good that amended solution may be, you and I aren't going to care. We're only going to remember the stories on Slashdot and know that ACTA = EVIL. So with this early exposure, the thing is dead before it can be reformed and amended.

Oh, they're just going to change the name once the negotiations are over. Remember Palladium => TCPA => whatever they call it now? And that was just the private industry. These guys are politicians.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245104)

"On top of that, how do you get all the big players to the table if the documentation is floating around that angers the hell out of their constituents. "If so and so goes to that summit, I'm never voting for her/him again" is what one might say."

Well that's the whole point of democracy, if the constituents don't want it, it shouldn't be implemented.

The premise of your argument relies on the idea that citizens shouldn't necessarily have a say in everything, that opposition shouldn't be party into things until they're already decided. I disagree, because that's fundamentally against democracy, and yet ironically, because of the way our democracies are set up, these laws will have to be passed through democratic systems anyway and so will still be open to opposition scrutiny and constituent complaints.

As I say, really, the only reason to keep it secret, is so they hope they can decide upon it and sneak it past everyone.

It's really the same arguments that are used to keep first past the post in here in the UK- the argument that proportional representation leads to unstable governments, that can't unilaterally pass laws- well yeah, that's the whole point. If a law doesn't have majority support, it is not fit to be passed, it's as simple as that. Whilst I may disagree with majority opinion sometimes, I still respect that it's possible that I'm not always right, and that the price to be paid for democracy, is that sometimes your viewpoint will be a minority. The problem we have here, is that the minority viewpoint is being held by government (which in the UK at least, is only elected by a minority of 35% of the voter base) and industry, so they feel they shouldn't have to accept that they're wrong and are trying to push it through anyway.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31246334)

Yes they have all sorts of reasons to want to keep things secret, unfortunately keeping things secret does not help a democracy. What you describe is pretty much what politicians love to do cook something up in a back room and then shove it past before people have time to think. That is an attempt to stifle the debate again not something desired in a democracy. If politicians are scared to anger the people they represent that's a good thing, it's there role to do what they believe the people they represent want. They are free to not vote for it.

ACTA looks to be a bad treaty, in my view any treaty trying to make universal copyright laws is a bad one, that's my opinion and I can vote as I see fit related to that. I make a living as a byproduct of copyright, but I do not see any need for any copyright to extend past the creators lifetime (OK a few corner cases involving TV style murders to end a copyright prematurely) and is most cases I do not see a need to extend it past 5 to 10 years.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245078)

...laws derived from the Geneva convention to govern related and similar civil matters, such as to protect against collective punishment, which is a war crime under the Geneva convention- cutting off internet access to a household for the action of one clearly also breaches this.

Didn't we have this discussion recently? Apparently, the Geneva convention only forbids collective punishment within the context of a war, and not in general.

Collective punishment in a POW camp => forbidden.
Collective punishment in school (or other non-war related context) => ok.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (2, Informative)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245192)

And here [icrc.org] is the text of the forth Geneva convention.

It is article 33 which forbids collective punishments:

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

So, who are "protected persons"? Article 4 gives the answer:

Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.

Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it. Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.

So, unless the US invades a country in order to impose ACTA there by force, victims of "three strikes" cannot consider themselves to be protected by the Geneva convention, and so article 33 would not apply.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31243744)

Without even reading all of it,

No one needs to read a whole document once you find one illegality. Just that one makes the whole document illegal. No need to read further.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244248)


No one needs to read a whole document once you find one illegality. Just that one makes the whole document illegal. No need to read further.

Guess you've never read a Microsoft EULA, eh?

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243768)

it seems that without reading the full extent of ACTA he is dead set against it.

How is one supposed to read the full extent of a paper that is not only secret but unfinished? How about this:

  1. We are for the legalization of rape
  2. We support the use of undocumented aliens
  3. We support wages of one dollar per hour

(rest of list redacted)
How can I be against this list when I've only seen three items?

If what you see of a list is 100% evil, it is fair to assume that not only is the rest of the list evil, but so are the people writing the list.

The very fact that MNOs are writing laws for the world's governments puts ME squarely against it, even if they're supporting sunshine and flowers. NOTHING matters to an MNO except profits; they are amoral and nonsocial. They do not care about human rights, only profits, and any politician in any country that supportst this travesty should be voted out of office.

will say that my representative and senators had better damn well represent the majority of the population and I hope that majority is with me on this.

I agree completely. But even if the majority of my state's voters are for inhumane copyright legislation, I personally will vote against any politician that votes for it.

The corporations have too much power; they should have none at all.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244684)

The very fact that MNOs are writing laws for the world's governments puts ME squarely against it

Not to be a douche or anything, but what do Mobile Network Operators have to do with this? It's not 3, T-Mobile and Verizon who are writing an ACTA that allows the MPAA and RIAA to rape us all ...

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244768)

MNO = Multi National Organizations. Sorry to have not spelled the acronym out; I blast others for that and here I am doing it myself.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245484)

Ahhhhh.

That one didn't come up in my searches. I got Mobile Network Operator and .MNO (file type) :)

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (5, Interesting)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243786)

We SHOULD be against any form of copyright protection on principle. It goes against nature (copying is natural) and hence will require LOADS of energy to enforce - from policy makers, judges, and cops to sysadmins and users. Get rid of it; there's plenty of better ways to get this done. Open source collaboration is one, alternate business models are another. The record companies have already been made superfluous by these developments and they know it, but they're doing their damnedest to become tyrants rather than adjust to life's flux.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (3, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243828)

Any aspect he has heard of (most likely through Doctorow or Geist) he makes a case for it being a violation of privacy. Without even reading all of it, he knows it's illegal.

Could you please post a link to all the ACTA documents? If not, all we can assume is it just as bad as the naysayers say.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244196)

Here's your link [google.com] . Note that it's a PDF file.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245074)

That link is a proposal from the USA - as reported on /. here [slashdot.org] with another link to the same document in the source article here [boingboing.net]

Still bad, nonetheless, but it's not been accepted.

Yet.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243858)

He's the data protection head honcho. And as such he is in charge of protecting the private data and privacy of the citizens he took care of. OF COURSE he can only be against anything ACTA represents, since pretty much anything ACTA could do to strengthen copyrights at this point has to invade the privacy of someone. We are already at the point where copyright is as strong as it gets without spying on people.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

alecwood (1235578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244090)

Personally I agree with the guy, and he holds a powerful position within the EU, but in reality it's not that powerful in comparison to the collective interests of the US government, the RIAA, MPAA etc

Representatives and Senators will keep big business happy, that's who puts the dollars in their campaign funds after all.

It's probable that it'll just be like all the rest of the recent "international" laws - there'll be safeguards to ensure no US citizens have to answer to any non-US IP holder, while US IP holders get free reign to stomp all over the rest of us in a similar fashion to how the USA doesn't hand over suspects wanted in other countries but on pain of sanction and embargo demands we all hand our citizens over to them without due process in their country of origin

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244476)

hopefully EU non-participation can be some kind of dealbreaker. but who knows, the other parties in the ACTA talks might go ahead without the EU and then attempt embargoes against the and things like that against the EU after passing ACTA.

that or maybe the ACTA committees will water down certain parts to assuage the EU, getting it passed with certain "understandings" for EU nations. let's hope not.

he knows enough (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245582)

he knows a few items like 3 strikes, mandatory isp policing and surveillance and sentencing, and these all conflict with fundamental laws, not only in eu, but also international. human rights declaration, geneva convention, free speech principles. and he speaks on those.

if you dont know enough about europe, these laws and rules are fundamental to everything in eu.

Re:I Think I Know Why They Left Him Out (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245716)

after reading a bit of his "opinion" piece (written way more formally than any opinion piece I've read)

That will be because it is his opinion as the European Data Protection Supervisor; he is not just speaking personally, he is speaking in his official capacity. That rather requires a certain degree of formality.

Probably (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31243492)

it concludes that the prospect of a three-strikes and you're out system may violate European privacy law

I reckon that y'all aint even playin baseball 'cross the pond, so three strikes seems plum-tuckered out.

Secret laws are illegal anyway (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243564)

In most (all?) countries, all laws are required to be available to the public to read. A secret law like this one is simply unenforceable by default.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31243606)

In most (all?) countries, all laws are required to be available to the public to read. A secret law like this one is simply unenforceable by default.

Most countries don't have prison camps in Gitmo either.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243660)

Most countries also prefer to avoid having anything to do with the men threatening western civilization instead of fighting them.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31243726)

Most countries also prefer to avoid having anything to do with the men threatening western civilization instead of fighting them.

Yes, because if EU had declared war on the USA while Bush was in power, it would have caused WW3. The nicer approach was to just wait for his term as a president to finally run out.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (2, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245764)

The nicer approach was to just wait for his term as a president to finally run out.

Right. Because the new guy was going to repeal all those horrible decisions.
Oh wait, he didn't.
Well at least he wasn't going to make the same types of horrible decisions going forward.
Oh wait, he did.

I can't wait for THIS guy's term to run out, so we can deal with the next guy.
I just bet he'll be different...

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (2, Informative)

c-reus (852386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243630)

I'm sure it will be available for the public to read - but only after it has been signed into law. ACTA is still being negotiated, you know.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243882)

That might even be illegal in most countries. But you may rest assured it becomes "public" a nanosecond before the vote. Since politicians rarely if ever read the laws they vote on anyway, they won't even bother to find out just since when they could read the law and go for the usual way they walk when tasked with voting on some law: Asking their party leaders how to vote.

I really wonder why we need so many representatives. It's not like they do anything but raise their hand whenever the party says they should.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244444)

Because otherwise the one hand of the moderate left would be worth the same as the one hand of the fascist right.

I'm all for proportional representation; I despise the first-past-the-post system we have at the moment, but as you say they all vote for the party line anyway.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (5, Informative)

codegen (103601) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243686)

Its not law yet. Its a proposed international treaty. Once it is signed, then each individual country that signs (an ratifies) it is then obligated to pass laws to implement the treaty. Those laws of course will be public.

The problem with secret negotiations, is that the public is then presented with a fait d'accompli, which must be implemented in law, thus depriving them of any input. In some countries, the ratification process provides some measure of input, but it is binary, either yes or no. Once ratified, the politicians can then say, "we have to pass this law, we are obligated by the treaty" and ignore any opposition from the public.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244308)

Once ratified, the politicians can then say, "we have to pass this law, we are obligated by the treaty" and ignore any opposition from the public.

Finally something to perhaps appreciate Bush for: Unilateral withdrawal from a signed and ratified treaty.

We are not obligated to do anything by treaty. We are either in compliance or violation of the treaty terms.

The more times a "treaty obligation" is used to trump the democratic process, the more abrogated treaties there will be.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (1)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244856)

Those laws of course will be public.

Not entirely the case in the UK. The proposed law that is going through parliament gives the relevant minister the right to change the scope and penalties in the future without coming back to parliament. So no, we (and more to the point, our representatives, when the vote for it) won't know what the law will be in the future.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (3, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243722)

Yes, but treaties seem to be a way around this. Governments don't need public approval for treaties. The treaties just obligate them to make appropriate laws. The public can have input into the laws after the treaty is signed but have considerably less say over it.

Of course, the US (presumably other countries) often avoids treaty obligations because the constitution makes it impossible to write laws.

Re:Secret laws are illegal anyway (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245114)

Indeed - ACTA is not a law. Quote from the UK IPO:

The goal of the ACTA negotiations is to provide an international framework that improves the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) laws. It does not intend to create new intellectual property rights or laws, but to create improved international standards on how to take action against large-scale infringement of IPR

dude has got it all wrong... (5, Funny)

sxpert (139117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243628)

the title should read "European Law violates ACTA"
subtitled "The law must be changed"

Re:dude has got it all wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244086)

You're american, aren't you?

Re:dude has got it all wrong... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244300)

You're not familiar with the sound "WOOSH!", are you?

Re:dude has got it all wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244530)

Neither are you. The ironing is delicious.

Re:dude has got it all wrong... (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31246360)

Ah, America, the only UN member apart from Somalia NOT to ratify the Children's Convention. For other international conventions, like bans on land mines or cluster bombs, the American "nuh" is shared by some bigger countries.

But this one? Congress will have their usual "foreign dictat" objections silenced by industry lobbyists.

So what? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243836)

So is the retention of DNA of arrested individuals never charged with a crime in England. Nobody gives a shit about European law. Not even European politicians.

When Europe has the balls / jurisdiction to indict heads of state over the transgressions of member states, maybe we'll see some countries brought into line. Right now, however, expect at least England to sign up for this no matter what Europe say.

Re:So what? (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31243950)

That said, if Europe ever started a more strict enforcement of European law in memeber countries, expect to see countries backing out of the EU.
It sounds like an exaggeration, but I wouldn't be surprised, despite England being known for not having very much 'patriotism', it does seem the average person on the street absolutely hates the idea of being 'controlled' by Europe. Most EU legislation gets really bad press here, no matter what it is about. If they started really pushing it, I'd imagine you'd see fringe parties like UKIP getting major votes - and then the major parties will change policies in order to keep in the running.
As to England signing up to ACTA, unfortunately, it's probably true, as much as it disgusts me. Unfortunately the current English government seem to get away with passing laws and taking actions that no one actually wants. It's mind-boggling, and if it continues like this, we'll see a police state soon enough.

Re:So what? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244102)

Fringe (far right) parties already get large portions of votes. UKIP second to Tories, BNP sixth [wikipedia.org] in 2009 European elections. That's two seats for the fascists.

I have a very low regard for the vox populi when it comes to important decisions. As George Carlin said (paraphrased) "Think of how stupid the average person is. Now, realise that half of them are more stupid than that."

Re:So what? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245062)

You do realize the UK is about as european as it is american, right? Although I'm ashamed to admit the far right is making serious inroads(*waves at Mr Wilders*) using the UK as an example for europe might not be very representative.

ACTA is illegal (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31243930)

ACTA is the attempt to eradicate free communication. The ultimate chilling effect. It's the return to government and industry controlled dissemination of propaganda. The establishment is fed up with grass-roots resistance to corporate control and is readying the big guns.

Network 23? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244160)

It's all starting to remind me of "Max Headroom"--that circa 1980s TV show that featured a gigitize floating head in a world that was basically run by major corporations. The corporations had control of everything, including the media.

One interesting point of trivia regarding the show, which ran on ABC: the primary antagonist, Network 23, was a direct slam against one of ABC's primary rivals. Take the first letter of "Network" (N), and then the "23" actually represented the second and third letters of the alphabet (BC). Put it together and you see the alleged future villian: Network 23 == NBC!

baseball analogies... (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244172)

3 Strikes and your out!

Um, thats out for that time at bat. Not out of the game.

So if I was the baseball commission, i'd sue over the improper use of the term.

mod Idown (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244232)

AASOCIATION OF play area Try not We strongly urge to have regular

No Kiddin' (2, Insightful)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31244540)

I'm pretty sure it violates law in pretty well every continent where it's planned to be implemented.

Where in the world is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31244708)

... the US version of Michael Geist?

Yay (1)

Uranium-238 (1586465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245528)

an official that finally realises that ACTA is f**king rediculous and should never ever happen. This sort of restores my faith in politicians.

Oh, well if HE demands it... (2)

LordSkout (1427763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31245784)

*chuckle* The people making ACTA know very well how much resistance there is to their plans, and that's precisely WHY it's been kept secret. This guy isn't even near the top of the list of people in power (Senators and Representatives in the US) who have already demanded transparency and been ignored, so I'm not sure why this is news.

All the political powers not on the payrolls of the media industry are going to make a fuss about this, but they're in the minority, and obviously between Biden and Obama, between ACTA and the newly organized FBI police task force to back them up, this only gets worse from here.

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