SOPA's big brother signed by EU nations amid widespread protests
Polish citizens take to the streets in protest at ACTA
IDG News Service - The European Union signed up to the controversial Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on Thursday despite widespread opposition, particularly in Poland, where people took to the streets in protest.
The agreement was officially signed in Tokyo by 22 European member states. Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany and the Netherlands did not sign, but committed to do so in the near future, according to the European Parliament's Green party.
The agreement seeks to enforce intellectual property rights and combat online piracy and illegal software. But opponents of ACTA claim it goes far beyond the U.S.' doomed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation and encourages ISPs to police the internet without any legal safeguards. SOPA is being revised after receiving broad criticism.
The ACTA agreement, meanwhile, has been mired in controversy from the beginning due to secrecy imposed by the U.S. and worries that it may not uphold E.U. rules on data privacy. The most controversial paragraph in the final text leaves the door open for countries to introduce the so-called three-strikes rule, which would require Internet users to be cut off if they continue to download copyright material after receiving two warnings, as national authorities would be able to order ISPs to disclose personal information about customers.
Although the agreement has been signed, it still has to go through a ratification procedure in the E.U. But now, shortly after SOPA sponsors succumbed to pressure to revise the bill, digital rights groups and so-called hactivists are pushing hard for the European Parliament to reject ACTA.
More than 10,000 people have taken to Poland's streets to protest the signing of the international treaty while the Polish branch of hacker collective Anonymous has attacked Polish government websites, including the prime minister's office, leaving several sites paralyzed.
"In the last few days, we have seen encouraging protest by Polish and other E.U. citizens, who are rightly concerned with the effect of ACTA on freedom of expression," said JA(c)rA(c)mie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. "This important movement will further build up. Our governments are bypassing democratic processes to impose draconian repressive measures."
There has also been widespread criticism of ACTA within the Parliament. Pirate Party parliamentarian Christian Engstrom accused Polish Minister of Digitisation Michal Boni of lying to the Polish people in order to get ACTA signed. "Unfortunately, it appears that the Polish minister does not shy away from telling his citizens blatant lies, in order to get the controversial ACTA agreement signed," he said on Wednesday.
According to news site Global Voices, Boni said it was too late to back out of the agreement because all the other European countries had signed -- but at the time this was not the case. "It is apparent that the game of telling EU citizens whatever lies may be necessary to get the ACTA agreement signed has begun," Engstrom warned.
- SOPA blowback, and other tech predictions for 2013
- Groups: Congress should scrap SOPA, PIPA and start over
- Who really was behind the SOPA protests?
- SOPA's big brother signed by EU nations amid widespread protests
- SOPA and PIPA: What went wrong?
- Mozilla touts Firefox impact in SOPA blackout
- Sen. Leahy criticizes 'knee-jerk' reaction to PIPA, SOPA protests
- Anti-SOPA, PIPA protests to continue
- Twitter, Facebook fuel SOPA protests
- Issa introduces SOPA alternative in the House
- IDC ROI Infographic Trends such as evolving communication patterns, connection types, applications and bandwidth can have an impact on enterprise organizations. Learn how IT organizations can...
- 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report For the 7th year in a row, Riverbed is in the "Leaders" Quadrant of the 2014 Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers. In...
- EMA Research: The Network Factor in VDI Success To reap the full benefit of a VDI deployment, organizations must assure the best possible end-user experience. The network plays a critical role...
- Increase Network Performance with Path Selection The hybrid networking model with path selection technology enables organizations to adopt hybrid networks to maximize the performance of applications, increase network availability,...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All Government/Industries White Papers | Webcasts