USTR Tells Public Interest Groups They Have 8 Minutes To Talk To TPP Negotiators

from the transparency? dept

We've noted for quite some time that the USTR's idea of "transparency" is laughable. They pretend that letting a few critics speak briefly is "transparency." It's not. Transparency is revealing what you're proposing on behalf of the public. And, even the "hearing from critics" part is increasingly laughable. We recently noted that the USTR had already limited the "direct stakeholder engagement period" to just three hours, which is much shorter than usual. Now, word comes from the EFF that it's become even worse, as the USTR has sent them an email saying that their allotted 15 minute presentation time has been cut down to just 8 minutes, and they're splitting up the presentations into four different rooms -- so most negotiators won't even be around to hear any individual presentation anyway. Here's the EFF's concerns:
We just received an email from the USTR indicating that they are going to cut down the already inadequate 15-minute time allotment for our stakeholder presentation, to a mere eight minutes. In addition, they will all be held in four separate rooms. So not only will the presenters have barely any time to discuss their specific concerns with the agreement, it will literally be impossible for negotiators to attend all the presentations they would be interested in hearing since they will all be held simultaneously in different locations. Moreover, this entire round of negotiations will last 10 full days, and so it seems especially odd that they would need to cut down time for public participation this drastically.
And here's the email from the USTR:

Good evening,

You are confirmed for a stakeholder presentation slot on Sunday, September 9th during TPP Round 14 Direct Stakeholder Engagement Forum.

Due to space constraints and an overwhelming showing of interest, we will have to limit presentation time to 8 minutes. Each presentation room will have a laptop, projector, and screen. If you would like to give a PowerPoint presentation, all you need to do is bring your presentation with you on a flash drive. No need to send to me ahead of time.
Please plan ahead so that your presentation fills the allotted time. We will have to stop you at the 8 minute mark in order to give every presenter an equal opportunity to make their presentation.

A schedule of presentations will be provided for you at the round. All presentations will be scheduled within the 11:00 am- 2:00 pm block, and take place in Potomac rooms A, B, C or D.

Thank you, again, for your participation. We value your input, and look forward to an on-going conversation regarding TPP.

Very best,

USTR

This isn't transparency. This is transparency theater, so that Ron Kirk can tell people he's being transparent, when he's being anything but.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Vog (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Truly, this level of transparency is unparalleled. Let's hope it stays that way.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    wow, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    the hate i have for this man is...

     

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  3.  
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    Lord Binky, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Maybe the room dividers will be transparent.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    I poop longer than that!

     

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

  5.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    ...Too much information.

     

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

  6.  
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    Lord Binky, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    But are they transparent?

     

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

  7.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Re:

    rofl. Adds a whole new meaning to "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones", doesn't it? MAFIAA (I'm assuming they're going to be there? Didn't catch the previous parts of this story) had better watch out.

     

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  8.  
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    Shmerl, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    This is transparency theater, so that Ron Kirk can tell people he's being transparent, when he's being anything but.

    Well if it's more like a circus really. If it's some kind of PR for Ron Kirk - it's a complete failure, since it shows that USTR are clowns. Really one can see that USTR doesn't care about any PR, since they simple don't care about people and their opinions. They care however that their various "stakeholders" don't deviate from the master plan, and for that, they turn any kind of public input into a joke.

     

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  9.  
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    Atkray (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    I like how the conveniently scheduled them for lunch time.

    If you are presenting I suggest you have a catered presentation.

     

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  10.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    I know mine are.

    Well, they do also glow neon green sometimes, but hey. That's what I get for sitting on a radioactive dump.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    Let Madonna and Justin Timberlake speak. They've each got 4 minutes to save the world.

     

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  12.  
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    LDoBe, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    Response to: Shmerl on Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    I don't know. Circuses can sometimes be entertaining...

    And when a clown gets mauled by one of the bears on a tricycle, I don't end up losing all my rights on the Internet

     

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  13.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks for the nightmare fuel. It'll last me weeks.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Response to: Shmerl on Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Obviously those must be the evil clowns.

     

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  15.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Re:

    So we've got just 8 minutes to say our goodbyes to the world? Better start early.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:14pm

    Why defend USTR?

    I don't think it is a question of sinister intentions. I think it is exactly what is said in the mail: They are surprised by the amount of stakeholder-interest in TPP.

    Of course my interpretation would mean that the USTR is incompetent rather than corrupt and in that context corrupt is a less grave condemnation. I think that Ron Kirk actually believe that they are being very transparent since so many have had access to the negotiators. For a person getting an unprecedented amount of feedback on how certain people feel about the issues he is discussing it would seem like an extreme amount of transparency.
    It is easy for mr. Kirk to think that the feedback he recieves is balanced and represents true transparency if he lives as secluded from reality as certain politicians.

    In reality it is probably a question of extremely shady rules in the process of accepting stakeholders screwing over anyone without a direct economic interest in protecting their income and therefore IPR. It might be a good idea to tell him gently so he doesn't crash completely from meeting reality.

     

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  17.  
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    DogBreath, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    I would stand there for 8 minutes and say nothing (in protest). If any of the TPP Negotiators tried to speak, I would say, "SHUT UP! This is MY 8 minutes. You are in the business of taking everything else away, and I'll be damned if I let you take these last 8 minutes from me too!".

    I would PAY to see the video of that meeting.

     

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  18.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Response to: Shmerl on Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    That depends what kind of clown and what kind of bear we're talking here. I personally see industry shills like clowns, goodness know they clown around on here all the time. Maybe they might think pirates are bears trying to maul them. Bam. Internet rights lost cause one of the clowns got mauled by a bear on a tricycle.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Michael, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:40pm

    Re:

    Would be more effective if people protested outside or another internet protest a-la SOPA. Force people to notice what is going on behind their backs.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    Hey, at least they still pretend we live in a democratic, free country. Just wait until next time when they flat out provide zero minutes for the public interest, it'll be so much more "fun"...

     

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  21.  
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    Jason, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    Re:

    I'm sure at this point the "stakeholders" feel a little transparent.

    "Due to your overwhelming show of interest we will have to pay much less attention to what you are saying."

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Response to: Shmerl on Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Motherfucking evils!

     

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  23.  
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    Jason, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:54pm

    Re:

    transparent.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:57pm

    Re:

    And have good fliers that hint that TPP will suffer the same fate as SOPA in the US and ACTA in Europe if they don't release official drafts and involve the public.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    Q: Are IP proponents afforded more than 8 minutes? Are there any rules restricting more in-depth handouts? Isn't there still three hours to talk one-on-one with the delegates? Can delegates take meetings with stakeholders at other times during the meetings?

    A: No; No; Yes; Yes

    Quit whining.

     

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  26.  
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    cosmicrat (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

    "Due to ... an overwhelming showing of interest..."

    Maybe they should take this as a clue...

     

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  27.  
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    gorehound (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:55pm

    These guys are A-Holes Supreme ! Fuck You Ron Kirk and Fuck You USTR.Take your Toilet Paper Pact and ram it up your Buttholes.Not even the Senate truly knows what these jokers are doing.I really am getting more and more of a hate for this Government.Both Parties are so Corrupted.Either way you would be seeing Draconian Secret Treaties meant to enforce their will and their money and their BS.
    Boycott The MAFIAA ! Stop giving these A-Holes Money.
    Buy INDIE Art Only !
    Make sure to tell your Fans & Friends the issues like TPP.Spread the word to all you know.
    There is no Transparency unless We Make It Transparent.

     

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  28.  
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    Zimzat (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    Re:

    This. This. This.

    And if negotiators are allowed to make these presentations optional, they'll probably all go out for a extra long lunch. On the house, of course.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Re:

    You answered your first question wrong. IP proponents get draft copies of the science damn agreement. It's positively ludicrous that you'd suggest they're on equal footing just because they're limited to the same presentation time during this forum when it's the only one public interest groups get while IP proponents get other avenues to advance their interests.

    Maybe you should go fuck yourself if you think for even one second we're falling for this farce.

     

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  30.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You know regular poop is more transparent than UTSR. But if u add lasers (or radioactivity) then it's just too transparent to compare =/

    And you gave our female friend a nice nightmare with all the green lights =//

     

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  31.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Amen brother. 8 minutes is a complete joke. If it was the only presentation but no, 8 freaking minutes divided with other 3 rooms.

    You know, this whole TPP thing is much like all the rest of the attempts. And pretty much like anything the MAFIAA puts its hands into. Transparent as Cuyahoga river was 43 years ago.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    RichardIP, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 7:15pm

    The acronyms are CRAP! Let us know who (or what) you're talking about!!!

     

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  33.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 8:34pm

    How long is a TED talk? Eight minutes is enough if they are listening.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 10:13pm

    Re:

    quote:How long is a TED talk? Eight minutes is enough if they are listening.
    /quote

    i think you missed the part where it says FOUR SEPARATE ROOMS.

    also, if the rooms are on different floors you will spend much more than that going up&down the stairs or using the elevator.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Prisoner 201, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Re:

    "also, if the rooms are on different floors you will spend much more than that going up&down the stairs or using the elevator."

    Or like Atkray said, go for lunch (since its scheduled right at lunchtime).

    And you can safely bet that the important delegates are going to be treated to some really nice lunches...

     

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  36.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 12:19am

    Re:

    Uhh, that was the original intent.

     

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  37.  
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    Violated (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 12:50am

    Talking to The Brick Wall

    Then if the do the same as with ACTA then shortly before this event happens they will move the event forwards by one week where so many people won't be able to rebook their flights and hotel rooms.

    Well if they are there for 10 days then presentations from 8am to 8pm would result in 825 presentations at 8 minutes each including one hour off for lunch.

    More likely the public time is one day, the hours are shorter meaning under 82 presentations, then for the other 9 days those TPP people will get a luxury stay including hookers and blackjack.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 2:11am

    so why isn't anything being done as far as a massive surge of complaints being lodged? why is Kirk not being, yet again, summoned to explain himself? why is there actually no action being taken against any of this?

     

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  39.  
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    techflaws (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 2:58am

    Re: Why defend USTR?

    They are surprised by the amount of stakeholder-interest in TPP.

    Because they've been living under a rock.

     

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  40.  
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    techflaws (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 2:59am

    Re:

    Are IP proponents afforded more than 8 minutes?

    Yes, they're getting their very own leaks of the papers (they helped drafting in the first place.)



    Quit the bullshit.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    quawonk, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 4:08am

    Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, democracy. It's all make-believe.

     

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

  42.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re:

    Easy workaround: Broadcast the Mind-Control algorithm in all four rooms and take over the world.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Chris Hoeschen, Aug 31st, 2012 @ 8:16am

    By my calculation the public interests is only given 0.1% of the entire conference. Bathroom breaks are allotted more than that. I supposed that shows us where their priorities are. The public is worth less than my shit.

     

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  44.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Are IP proponents afforded more than 8 minutes?

    I'm relatively sure that the years they've spent with undue influence over USTR is more than 8 minutes.

    Of course, I use real math, not the Hollywood kind.

     

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

  45.  
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    Lurk-a-lot (profile), Aug 31st, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Re:

    ... served by prostitutes, with coke or crack on offer to everyone!

    Let's face it, that wouldn't be any more dishonest than what's going on right now.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    With interruptions from from the TPP negotiators the eight minutes will be whittled down to about a minute and a half. Good luck.

     

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


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