USTR Claims TPP Has 'Unprecedented' Transparency, But It Won't Reveal The Details Unless You're A Big Industry Lobbyist

from the not-how-to-do-things dept

You would think that after the response to SOPA as well as the ongoing (and growing) movement against ACTA, that the USTR would heed some of the warning signs, and stop pushing trade agreements negotiated in secret with the help of Hollywood. But, that's just not how the USTR works, apparently. When pressed to release a draft of the intellectual property sections of the new Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the USTR apparently told a bunch of civil liberties/civil society groups that the current level of transparency on TPP was "unprecedented." And to prove it, they refused to let anyone see the draft document. At this point, it seems like the USTR simply thinks that lying to the public is its best course of action. We've already pointed out that the TPP negotiations are actually significantly more secret than even the already unprecedented levels of secrecy in ACTA.

So what could the USTR possibly mean in claiming that the TPP process has been transparent? Well, they like to talk about their "Industry Trade Advisory Committees" (ITACs), who get to see the documents and provide input. The USTR apparently insisted that "no one" on those boards were lobbyists. Yet, Jamie Love, over at KEI (who was present at this meeting) has listed out the members of these ITACs to show that, once again, the USTR is lying. Among the folks on the relevant ITACs are executives from a variety of lobbying groups, including the MPAA, the RIAA, the ESA, and PhRMA. In other words, all of the big corporate interests known for their desire to only expand IP law and enforcement to protect their own business models.

This is exactly the kind of thing that people have been protesting about SOPA and ACTA: crony capitalism with backroom deals involving old, slow and obsolete industry interests helping to write the laws that hold back innovation for the sake of keeping them from having to innovate. The USTR should be ashamed of itself. It should really open up the process. Release the drafts public, request open feedback, and stop just listening to one side of the story.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    Is the USTR a specific individual or is it a department within the bureaucracy of the government? I think its time we figured that out and called this individual or these individuals to task.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    "So what could the USTR possibly mean in claiming that the TPP process has been transparent?"

    Is it because it is invisible?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Pink floyd, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    TEAR DOWN THE WALL

    TEAR DOWN THE WALL
    TEAR DOWN THE WALL
    TEAR DOWN THE WALL
    of secracy

     

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    identicon
    Parts Per Million Man, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    It's True

    To take the level of transparency to a negative amount is, in fact, "unprecedented".

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    They are being completely honest

    How could you possibly dispute their claim????

    "... the current level of transparency on TPP was "unprecedented."

    The fact that you even know about TPP is unprecedented transparency.

     

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  •  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    They do not seem to know what that word means, failing to comprehend English in this manner should be grounds to have them removed.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Or maybe it is transparent because we can see right through their lies.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    USTR isn't lying

    It is completely unprecedented that - contrary to all laws of physics - the USTR has actually discovered negative transparency.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:05am

      Re: USTR isn't lying

      They discovered negative transparency first by examining their own skulls: they're so opaque that nothing with substance ever gets through.

       

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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    I was poking around on the USTR's website and I found this interesting image:

    http://www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/3003

    I think they need to amend it with a large asterisk next to the words "ACTA (or similar agreements)" and then a large arrow bypassing the congressional parts pointing directly to the "President Signs into Law" box.

     

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    identicon
    Strofcon, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    Recourse?

    So what would are the most effective means by which we could go SOPA/PIPA protest style on TPP and ACTA? How to we draw the same massive amount of attention to the USTR's dishonesty and drive a change in the direction of their actions? Who do we contact directly to show the flood of opposition to such tactics? I'm all for explaning the problem and drawing attention to it here, but we need to define avenues by which we can VERY publicly call them out for lying, and also melt their phones and inboxes with our input against the bad moves. As I always hear at work, "come with solutions, not just problems." :-)

     

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    BeachBumCowboy (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:12am

    Unprecedented

    The only thing unprecedented from the USTR is the amount of outright and open hypocrisy.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    I agree, it's obviously transparent that these negotiations are purely self serving and that they are being made transparent to industry interests.

     

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    identicon
    Kiwini, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Broken lawmaking process

    It might help if we had someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who kept his promises about NOT doing this sort of backdoor hosing of the public.

    "Hope and change"?...how's that all working out these days?.

     

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:43am

      Re: Broken lawmaking process

      It's working out better than it would have under McCain and Palin, but yes Obama's record on transparency and copyright is dismal.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Broken lawmaking process

      "It might help if we had someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who kept his promises about NOT doing this sort of backdoor hosing of the public."

      Considering it's Republican Reps like Lamar Smith who are behind it, I'd say "Toss the Republican Rascals OUT!"

       

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        nasch (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: Broken lawmaking process

        Considering it's Republican Reps like Lamar Smith who are behind it, I'd say "Toss the Republican Rascals OUT!"

        What does Lamar Smith have to do with TPP?

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Has anyone submitted a Freedom of Information request to get copies of everything?

     

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      Keroberos (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      Has anyone submitted a Freedom of Information request to get copies of everything?
      Wouldn't matter anyway. This is what you would probably get back.

      The information about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement you have requested has been [REDACTED] for [REDACTED] reasons.

       

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        identicon
        Pixelation, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        "Wouldn't matter anyway. This is what you would probably get back."

        The Republican candidates could bring a copy to ask Obama about when he promises more transparency.

         

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          Keroberos (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The Republican candidates could bring a copy to ask Obama about when he promises more transparency.
          Of course that assumes they are planning on being more transparent themselves--something I see as highly unlikely.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 10:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            @least they aren't lame enough to claim they will be more transparent when they know they won't.

             

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The Republican candidates could bring a copy to ask Obama about when he promises more transparency."

          Republicans like Lamar Smith?
          They're the ones preventing transparency!

           

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            nasch (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Republicans like Lamar Smith?
            They're the ones preventing transparency!


            Obama's record on transparency and openness has been pretty much awful. The Republicans have nothing to do with that (though plenty of their own problems).

             

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  •  
    identicon
    crazylilting, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:56am

    Petition the United States Trade Representative's Freedom of Information office: to make the supporting text of the ACTA public.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/united-states-trade-representatives-freedom-of-informatio n-office-to-make-the-supporting-text-of-the-acta-public

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    basically, i think people are going to have to accept that this type of behaviour is never going to stop. it doesn't matter what we do, it doesn't matter what we want to do int he futer. it is just going to continue. the problem is, we have allowed things to get out of hand. we have allowed people, corporations to get away with whatever they want. we have allowed governments to do what they want, after taking oaths to represent 'the people' instead of demanding they do what they were in office for and having gotten away with things for so long, it is now almost impossible to stop. how can the things that are happening now be regarded as anything other than people being dictated to? when certain corporations, industries and individuals are bringing into being, laws that will have drastic effects and repercussions on 'the people', whilst not even consulting or considering 'the people', how can that be considered anywhere near what happens in 'a democratic society'? we are allowing the piss to be taken out of us and demonstrating is not making anyone listen!

     

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    •  
      icon
      Keroberos (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      Your's is the exact response that they have been working to get for decades. Unfortunately, I fear that after the "coolness" factor of the current protests wear off it will be business as usual for Congress and the lobbyists, and it will become much harder for those of us that want to change things to get support from the general public in the future (although I hope it won't be).

      As Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." The problem is lobbyists are paid to be ever vigilant, whereas the public can be easily distracted.

       

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    •  
      icon
      The eejit (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      Then a violent revolution will come...

      Not in terms of actual violence, necessarily, but definitely economic violence.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Bengie, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    I gotta give this a try

    This is my first time doing this, so please give me feedback.

    Mike, you are just a pirate who doesn't want to pay for an artist's hard work. Go cry somewhere else.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 10:43am

      Re: I gotta give this a try

      not mean spirited enough.

      2/5

       

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    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 11:23am

      Re: I gotta give this a try

      The words "apologist" and "freetard" are good. "Pirate Mike" might help too.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

      Re: I gotta give this a try

      "Mike, you are just a pirate who doesn't want to pay for an artist's hard work. Go cry somewhere else."

      Please show what Mike has "pirated", boy.
      Otherwise you've just committed libel!

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    Sorry, stupid question:

    Why is lying to the public not apparently illegal?

    (No sarcasm here, btw.)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymoose Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    Regulatory capture, ladies and gentlemen.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    When pressed to release a draft of the intellectual property sections of the new Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the USTR apparently told a bunch of civil liberties/civil society groups that the current level of transparency on TPP was "unprecedented."

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Petra, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Senator Hatch

    We can't let this slide: Senator Hatch has said it would help the fight against piracy if the Government would destroy a few hundred thousand computers. I wonder if it could really come to that.
    http://www.dethronehatch.com/orrin-hatch-is-no-friend-of-the-internet/

     

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  •  
    identicon
    lurch68b, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 10:43am

    You dont like it?!?!?!?

    Well when it comes time to reelect your senators and congressmen DON'T VOTE FOR THE ASS HATS!!!!!! Vote for someone else, anyone else. The only way to effect change is to vote out the current batch of shrubs and get a new batch of shrubs.

     

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


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