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.