Last Sunday the first draft of the digital enforcement chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that governments have been secretly working on for the past year was leaked. And nobody knows (or can blame) who did it!
The Act goes far beyond counterfeiting by including sanctions of copyright infringements and increased liability for Internet Service Providers (ISPs); these provisions are designed to force ISPs to filter and block websites considered to aid copyright infringement.
Without entering once again into the debate of intellectual property rights v freedom of expression and data protection (see my blog of Friday 24 February), it is interesting to note that the measures proposed by developed countries’ decision makers can be a threat to those countries which do not have measures to protect consumers. We at least have the Data Protection Act and the European Human Rights Act, even though they can be bent to justify other agendas! Will more leaks happen? Or will more transparent and open dialogues eventually start? I am sure that these legislative proposals will be seen by the Chinese government in support to its current policy to monitor and block “unacceptable” websites – when China uses intermediaries to carry out the censorship on its behalf…
Post written by Francesca Re Manning, consultant to CAS-IP