[LINK] TPP signed: the ‘biggest global threat to the internet’

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Oct 6 12:46:06 AEDT 2015

TPP signed: the ‘biggest global threat to the internet’ agreed, as 
campaigners warn that secret pact could bring huge new restrictions to 
the internet

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement covers 40 per cent of the 
world’s economy, and sets huge new rules for online businesses as well 
as traditional ones
Andrew Griffin
Monday 5 October 2015

An agreement that some campaigners have called the “biggest global 
threat to the internet” has just been signed, potentially bringing huge 
new restrictions on what people can do with their computers.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the conclusion of five years of 
negotiations, and will cover 40 per cent of the world’s economy. Its 
claimed purpose is to create a unified economic bloc so that companies 
and businesses can trade more easily — but it also puts many of the 
central principle of the internet in doubt, according to campaigners.
Landmark TPP deal announced in Atlanta

One particularly controversial part of the provisions make it a crime to 
reveal corporate wrongdoing "through a computer system". Experts have 
pointed out that the wording is very vague, and could lead to 
whistleblowers being penalised for sharing important information, and 
lead to journalists stopping reporting on them.

Others require that online content providers — such as YouTube and 
Facebook — must take down content if they receive just one complaint, as 
they are in the US. That will be harmful for startups looking to build 
such businesses since they'll be required to have the resources to 
respond to every complaint, experts have pointed out.

In 2013, when the partnership was still being discussed, the Electronic 
Freedom Foundation called TPP “one of the worst global threats to the 
internet”. The changes are dangerous because to unify the various 
countries in the partnerships’ rules on intellectual property and other 
internet law, they are opting to take the US’s largely very restrictive 

“The TPP is likely to export some of the worst features of U.S. 
copyright law to Pacific Rim countries: a broad ban on breaking digital 
locks on devices and creative works (even for legal purposes), a minimum 
copyright term of the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years (the 
current international norm is the lifetime plus fifty years), 
privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement, ruinous 
statutory damages with no proof of actual harm, and government seizures 
of computers and equipment involved in alleged infringement,” wrote 
Katitza Rodriguez and Maira Sutton.

The changes could also lead to huge new rules about surveillance.

“Under this TPP proposal, 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,” write Expose The TPP, a campaign group opposing the agreement.

As well as imposing strict rules on those on the internet, activists 
point out that some of the parts of the agreement could limit central 
parts of the internet and modern computers. A restriction on breaking 
“digital locks” for instance — which is meant to allow companies to 
control their products even after they have been bought by customers — 
could stop disabled people from making important changes to their 
computers or using different technology.

The agreement has been made in secret and will not be fully published 
publicly for years.

Tech experts wrote to the US Congress in May to demand more transparency 
about the agreement.

"Despite containing many provisions that go far beyond the scope of 
traditional trade policy, the public is kept in the dark as these deals 
continue to be negotiated behind closed doors with heavy influence from 
only a limited subset of stakeholders," they wrote



Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
email: brd at iimetro.com.au
web:   www.drbrd.com
web:   www.problemsfirst.com
Blog:  www.problemsfirst.com/blog

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