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Digital Rights Groups Warn Pro-Corporate TPP Could Kill the Internet

Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Internet, Media & Arts with 22 Comments
Digital rights groups warn that TPP "will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money." (Photo: Getty)

Digital rights groups warn that TPP “will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money.”

By Deirdre Fulton |

The “disastrous” pro-corporate trade deal finalized Monday could kill the Internet as we know it, campaigners are warning, as they vow to keep up the fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

Related Article: U.S. Bombs Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Shortly After They Criticized the TPP Agreement. Coincidence?

“Internet users around the world should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact,” said OpenMedia's digital rights specialist Meghan Sali. “What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.”

TPP opponents have claimed that under the agreement, “Internet Service Providers could be required to ‘police' user activity (i.e. police YOU), take down Internet content, and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated content.”

Among the deal's provisions are rules that could criminalize file-sharing, whistleblowing, and breaking digital locks, even for legitimate purposes. Of course, because the contents of the pact have been negotiated largely in secret, the exact implications of the TPP on user rights is yet to be seen.

However, Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Maira Sutton wrote on Monday, “We have no reason to believe that the TPP has improved much at all from the last leaked version released in August, and we won't know until the U.S. Trade Representative releases the text. So as long as it contains a retroactive 20-year copyright term extension, bans on circumventing DRM, massively disproportionate punishments for copyright infringement, and rules that criminalize investigative journalists and whistleblowers, we have to do everything we can to stop this agreement from getting signed, ratified, and put into force.”

Furthermore, “The fact that close to 800 million Internet users' rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge online hinged upon the outcome of squabbles over trade rules on cars and milk is precisely why digital policy consideration[s] do not belong in trade agreements,” Sutton added, referring to the auto and dairy tariff provisions that reportedly held up the talks.

Related Article: 12 Nations (Including U.S.) Agree to Deal on Controversial TPP

With a major protest against the TPP and other secret trade deals planned for November in Washington, D.C., EFF is crowdsourcing slogans related to how the TPP threatens digital rights and freedoms around the world.

“Successive leaks of the TPP have demonstrated that unless you are a big business sector, the [U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR] simply doesn't care what you have to say,” wrote EFF's Jeremy Malcolm.

“Enough's enough,” reads the group's call-to-action. “The time for whitepapers and presentations is past. The USTR has failed us, so now it's time for the public to rise up and take their message about the TPP's threats to user rights to Congress, which has the ultimate authority to approve or reject the deal for the United States.”


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22 Reader Comments

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  1.' Daily Motivational Quotes says:

    Dear person
    Follow us for Daily Motivational Quotes 🙂

  2.' Leigh Vange says:

    Jackson Savio

  3.' Accardianca Bianco Hughman says:

    They want the world, i hope the world lets them have it.

  4.' Josh Churchill says:

    Freedom of speech, right to information act..that’s what i think

  5.' Edmundo Monroy says:

    Buena información, sólo aquí

  6.' Marisa Guerin says:

    what does tpp mean?

  7.' Donna Geres says:

    I thought that this would be next… Fuckers!

  8.' Brian Cox says:

    Almost Nobody knows what it is … even the people involved ….. it is an agreement behind closed doors by a very very few …the media believe they may get a sniff of what it’s about in a month or so ..

  9.' Susan Davis says:

    Of course. We are no longer a free country but I am a free being within.

  10.' Eduardo Salazar says:

    That’s good maybe some of you will get your asses out doors and live life

  11.' Roxanne Prokes says:

    This control over trade agreements is laying the ground work for the “New World Order” that 13 of the wealthiest families in the world are working to achieve. Definitely not in our best interests.

    •' Veronica Phillips says:

      These families are pulling the strings and no one realizes this is happening

    •' Roxanne Prokes says:

      There is strength in numbers. We outnumber them 1K to one and only by banding together can we make a difference. By overcoming apathy and staying involved…to threatening Congressman they better vote for the people if they intend on keeping their jobs.

  12.' Cindy Orr says:

    Big brother is knocking on your front door!!!

  13.' Gustavo King says:

    James Moreira

  14.' Martine Meulmann says:

    We should not want it, especially since it’s super secret… Do not trust lobbyists…

  15.' Raoul Duke says:

    don’t the vast vast majority of websites already self-police and remove unsavory/insensitive content?

  16.' Brent Farris says:

    The Internet has always been and unregulated free market why would we change that now look how fast it grew when the government kept it hands out of it.

  17.' Julie Tartak, The Wellness Tree says:

    The question I have is.. Why? What is the motivation and reason for this to happen? Perhaps part of the bigger picture of control, creating a 1984 scenario slowly, disarming the people, leaving them with no internet resources or fast communication? Why are they vying for this? If this passes, it’s going to be a gateway for other freedoms to be ended abruptly with no explanations… scary!

  18.' Veronica Phillips says:

    Slowly are freedoms are being eroded and no one is doing anything about it

  19.' Joe Holzer says:

    … if the web is stopping to honor basic human Rights I wouldn’t want any part of it…. get rid of the TPP…

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