Less than a week after the European Parliament voted to soundly reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), opponents of that measure are crying foul on a back door deal to get some of the treaty's worst provision enacted as part of another treaty. According to leaked documents (as reported by The Independent), a trade agreement between the EU and Canada called CETA includes provisions that require internet service providers to hand over personal details of anyone who is suspected of infringing copyrights online. Experts say that these provisions – which have the support of the European Commission – are being pushed through the back door in an attempt to get past European lawmakers who have already rejected them as part of ACTA.
"The European Parliament has spoken very loudly," Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, who uncovered the documents. "To put back the same provisions in a much larger trade agreement will make it more difficult to reject. If CETA is successful, then one would think that the European Commission would come back and say ‘well, you just passed that, so you cannot object to ACTA.'"
"It is possible that ACTA was used as a template completely innocently when it was widely accepted in political circles," he added. "But, the fact its provisions remain even after it has been rejected in Europe suggest it may be a deliberate attempt to push it through. People would say this is very confrontational and a challenge to the European Parliament."
"There now seems to be an new secret strategy to slip the most discredited aspects of ACTA into a different trade agreement," noted Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party. "The crowbarring of ACTA type provisions into CETA shows the will to ignore the democratic process. There are legitimate concerns about the enforcement, damages and border control obligations in CETA. The EU and international bodies must start to learn the lessons of the ACTA debacle, and truly engage with citizens."
But EU Trade Spokesman John Clancy vehemently denies the allegations, calling them " simply rubbish" and pointing out that CETA is similar to a treaty with South Korea that has already been passed. He notes that the treaty with South Korea has been running for a year and has not "brought about the end of a free Internet."
Source: The Independent