Leaked Cable Shows That ACTA Secrecy Is Way Beyond Normal
from the didn't-we-say-that? dept
As more and more attention was paid to the ridiculous level of secrecy concerning the ACTA negotiators last year, a bunch of ACTA supporters tried to claim that the level of secrecy (such as calling it a state secret involving national security) was perfectly normal for such agreements. A year ago, we went through a rather detailed explanation of how similar negotiations were much more open. The response we heard was that we were wrong and that this was “entirely normal.” Turns out, even the diplomats involved knew this was bunk. One of the latest cable leaks from Wikileaks shows an Italian diplomat complaining to a US official about the level of secrecy involved in ACTA, noting that it’s much higher than normal and that it makes it more difficult to get stuff done:
The level of confidentiality in these ACTA negotiations has been set at a higher level than is customary for non-security agreements. According to Mazza, it is impossible for member states to conduct necessary consultations with IPR stakeholders and legislatures under this level of confidentiality.
Can’t wait to see defenders of ACTA secrecy try to backtrack their claims that the secrecy level was perfectly normal.
Separately, this particular cable shows some of the problems with the USTR’s annual Special 301 report in which it makes up a list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice when it comes to intellectual property issues — based not on evidence, but almost entirely on entertainment industry and pharma industry say so. The Italian official complained to the US that Italy had been working hard to crack down on infringement in Italy, but the USTR slammed them anyway and made no mention of all of the efforts they’d already put towards pushing through changes that Hollywood (via the State Department) was demanding. The Italian official was worried that this would actually lead to a setback, as Italian government officials wondered why they should bother if the USTR was just going to slam them no matter what they did.
Of course, none of this is a surprise. The same points about both the Special 301 process and ACTA secrecy were made by many folks, including us at Techdirt, and every time we did, supporters mocked us for “crying wolf” and making stuff up. Yet, now, it turns out that the points many folks were raising were also being stated by government officials.