Senators Begin Questioning ACTA Secrecy

from the this-ain't-the-transparency-we-were-promised dept

Despite some sweet talk from Hollywood about how important ACTA and its secret negotiations are to America (and, once again, no, the secrecy is not at all “normal,” as some industry lawyers would have you believe), it looks like some Senators are finally beginning to question how ACTA is being handled. Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown have sent a letter to US Trade Rep Ron Kirk asking for ACTA documents to be made public. The letter points out that “the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude” especially considering that “there are concerns about the impact of ACTA on the privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general.” The letter also takes on the bogus claims of state secrets in protecting ACTA documents:

We are surprised and unpersuaded by assertions that disclosures of basic information about the negotiation would present a risk to the national security of the United States, particularly as regards documents that are shared with all countries in the negotiations, and with dozens of representatives of large corporations. We are concerned that the secrecy of such information reflects a desire to avoid potential criticism of substantive provisions in ACTA by the public, the group who will be most affected by the agreement. Such secrecy has already undermined public confidence in the ACTA process…. We firmly believe that the public has a right to know the contents of the proposals being considered under ACTA, just as they have the right to read the text of bills pending before Congress.”

Unfortunately, these are just two Senators. Supporters of ACTA likely have many more who will blindly fight to keep ACTA secret and get it approved with little or no substantive input from those it will impact most.

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Comments on “Senators Begin Questioning ACTA Secrecy”

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32 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Ideas for contacting your Government Represenative

I just faxed a copy of the letter (warning:PDF) with a coversheet to my Senators and Representatives. In the coversheet, I (nicely) asked that they take a look at what Senators Brown and Sanders wrote, and let me know if “this ACTA thingie is something to be worried about”.

I finished it off by asking the Senator/Representative also request this same information from US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. I hope this gives you some ideas, and maybe you feel inclined to do the same.

Here’s a link to find Your Representatives

Anonymous Coward says:

Nice to see that the EFF finally got a couple politicos who know nothing about the issues to troll on its behalf.

If a letter had been written by persons on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees then perhaps such a letter might hold sway.

But this letter? Likely DOA, no matter how much the EFF wants to believe otherwise.

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