USTR Behind ACTA Secrecy; This Is Not The Transparency We Were Promised

from the transparency dept

This is hardly a surprise given previous reports and previous actions of the USTR, but it does highlight the blatantly false claims from the USTR that it is being as transparent as possible when it comes to ACTA negotiations. The Obama administration has repeatedly told different groups in the administration to be as transparent as possible, but apparently the USTR simply doesn't care. It puts out content free statements claiming that it's "committed to improving transparency," but when it comes time to release the latest draft of the document, it's not released officially at all... and reports are now coming out to say that this is due to US demands to keep it secret. Transparency? Not around the USTR, apparently. They've been using transparency as a negotiating ploy, and when they don't get what they want, they refuse to let the document be released. Of course, in being so childish, all the US has really done is draw more scrutiny, and pretty much guarantee that a draft (including the markup that the one and only official release left out) get leaked.


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  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Trust:

    Trust is knowing what you can trust somebody/something to do.

    I trust the USTR to give lip service to the idea of transparency.

     

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  2.  
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    designerfx (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Trust:

    yes but trust isn't real transparency, we should be able to have both, and we don't thanks to lobbying.

    Really, why haven't we overturned that ruling that let corporations influence lobbying? It seems to be the biggest core of all of this

     

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  3.  
    icon
    Qyiet (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Fire them

    Sounds like the administration as told them do A, they have done the opposite of A.

    Just apologise to the other members of ACTA, then fire everyone even tertiarly related to the whole mess. It would make the point to the public, and the other groups dragging their feet that when asked to do A by the administration, you should in fact do A.

     

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  4.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    The one calling the shots at the USTR is Ron Kirk who has a trail of scandals in his past as the mayor of Dallas and Secretary of State of Texas. Check it out on Wikipedia.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    Figures. It seems like these political positions can never be filled with honest people because dishonest people never stop pursuing political careers.

     

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  6.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:15pm

    While the Obama administration has been better than the Bush administration about transparency, it's not as though that's saying much. They use NSLs like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, they keep on fighting the release of various documents Obama promised to release. Really overall, anyone who voted for him because they thought he would follow through on his promises has been had. And the worst part is some don't even realize it. I campaigned for him with my eyes open, but you can't help but have a bit of the idealism rub off on you. Too bad it's a disappointment as usual. The next election, I'm staying home.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:29pm

    Re:

    "The next election, I'm staying home"

    Mail in ballots are a very nice convenience and from what I've read result in a larger turnout.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Fire them

    Agreed. The politicians need to realize that when some public servant is told to do A, then does the opposite, that is known as insubordination. The correct response to insubordination is to consider, "Does this public servant have some overwhelmingly good public policy reason for committing insubordination?" If the answer to that question is no, then a sacking should follow in short order.

     

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  9.  
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    ethorad (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re:

    Agreed - and being caught seems to be a minor blip to the worst of them. Case in point - Peter Mandelson in the UK was forced to resign from office twice (1998 and 2001) he kept coming back to influential posts.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 7:43am

    I'd take an anonymously-sourced non-quote from an interested party with a grain of salt. But the transparency issue, and which part(s) of which countries' government are opposing it, is worthy of some investigation. Why do you/we assume that it's USTR making the decision not to release?

     

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  11.  
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    Pete Braven (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Re: Trust:

    Hang on, you are using the word 'trust' in a sentence that include a government department, this is a prime example of an 'oxymoron'.
    Anyone who understands politicians knows that political 'transparency' is akin the the glass used for welding masks, photon blasts and solar observations!

     

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  12.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re:

    "But the transparency issue, and which part(s) of which countries' government are opposing it, is worthy of some investigation. Why do you/we assume that it's USTR making the decision not to release?"

    The US were one of the countries in a leaked document listing those countries who hadn't spoken up in favour of transparency. Since then all of those countries except three, including the US, have changed their position on transparency. Out of the three countries that are left, the US is the country that introduced ACTA and it is, I believe, entirely US companies and organisations that have been party to the negotiations under NDAs. The US administration have also denied FOI requests, claiming that the documents are state secrets.

    It's news to me if South Korea and Singapore are influential enough to veto the whole European Union on an issue such as this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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