European Trade Committee Chair Defends Continued Secrecy On ACTA
from the but-of-course dept
The ridiculous secrecy behind ACTA still hasn't stopped, even as the document has long been made public, and most of the negotiating countries have signed on. The EU bloc of countries has not signed on, as they've been awaiting some legal analysis to determine if the text of ACTA is in accordance with existing EU law. Apparently, the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) has planned a meeting for November 23rd, in which it will hear the European Parliament legal service's opinion on ACTA's current status with existing EU law. However, that meeting and the report from the legal service... will be kept secret. Some concerned folks sent an open letter protesting this secrecy, and were given a doublespeak response from the chair of INTA, Vital Moreira. As best as I can figure out, Moreira's argument is we're keeping the meeting and the analysis secret, because it's secret, thus we have to keep it secret.
...the opinion of the Legal Service is, for the time being, a confidential document; therefore its presentation is foreseen to take place in an “in camera” part of the Committee meeting.So here's the thing that I don't understand: why is it in the public interest to have this document be confidential and secret. I can't think of any single compelling reason that doesn't involve corruption. If it's merely a legal analysis of the status of ACTA under existing law, there should be nothing to keep confidential. The only reason to keep such a thing confidential is if the intent is to change the analysis before it actually does go public. That would indicate undue pressure by some on what should be an objective analysis. Assuming that the European Parliament legal service is not, in fact, corrupt, then what other possible reasons could there be for keeping such a document secret.
... as to the question whether there is an overriding public interest in disclosure of the opinion under Regulation (EC) No. 1049/2001: under legislation in force and related jurisprudence, it is for the institution concerned to balance the interest to be protected by non-disclosure and public interest in disclosure.