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mairaEFF901 karma

All of the issues we're concerned about in the TPP are not traditional trade issues (like tariffs on goods). EFF isn't opposed to free trade, nor I think most of the other organizations involved in opposing the TPP. What EFF is concerned about are the huge array of regulatory obligations that would impact digital policies.

Yes, trade negotiations have always been done in secret in order to ensure that domestic politics would not get in the way of free trade. But how to think about it is that all the problematic provisions in trade agreements are like legislative riders. It's a series of provisions that would be too controversial to pass in an open, public debate among lawmakers who are accountable to the public, which is why they will, and honestly have already, stuck digital policies into trade agreements.

Does it make sense that the TPP obligates countries to make it a crime to tinker with or jailbreak your phone, car, or any number of digital devices? Does it make sense that you can be sent to jail or sentenced to pay debilitating fines for sharing a file for no financial motivation, that did not even impact the commercial interests of the artist or the copyright holder? Just as I think legislative riders are dishonest, I think it's utterly disingenuous to put these sort of policies in a "trade" agreement.

I doubt your statement that having these regulatory issues decided behind closed doors is a "well-understood policy" that is part of "mainstream academic consensus," especially in light of this statement by several dozen academics on the issue. But I'll put that aside. The ultimate question that we, as a people, have to ask ourselves is do want these rules to be decided this way? Do we want multinational corporations who have privileged access to policymakers deciding the rules for the rest of us?

Personally speaking, I abso-freakin-lutely don't. I want to live in a democracy and that's just not how democracy works.

mairaEFF452 karma

Definitely. We have this blog post that lays out the specific threats the TPP poses to different audiences, including students, artists, gamers, tinkerers, and others.

This is a pretty exhaustive list so we definitely encourage people to make memes or share any part of this info to spread the word about how it will affect every day people.

mairaEFF227 karma

Lobbyists to multi-national corporations (MNCs) actually do have privileged access. Many of them serve on Trade Advisory Committees where they can log-in and see the drafts text of trade agreements in between the negotiation rounds. I've written about this issue for EFF more extensively here.

Although civil society groups like us could serve on these committees, we would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, preventing us from being able to talk about or share our inside knowledge about the agreement with anyone.

Since the public and our many thousands of members relied on us to spend the time to make sense of the TPP texts, explain why they're good or bad, and do what we can to fix the problems, we decided that we couldn't sign the NDA and serve on those committees. We were against it as a matter of principle as well, and all the other civil society groups felt the same way.

mairaEFF192 karma

Thanks for the suggestions! Those are great ideas.

mairaEFF119 karma

The same private interests behind SOPA and PIPA are using international policy venues like trade agreements and the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization to export the same kinds of abusive copyright enforcement laws to the rest of the world.

The major fight right now is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secretive trade agreement being negotiated between 11 countries around the Pacific region. The threat is that this agreement is being discussed completely behind closed doors, and we only know what's in it based upon leaked text. It has 26 chapters but the one we're concerned about is the one covering intellectual property, which rewrites global rules on enforcement that would turn ISPs into Internet cops, enact criminal sanctions for copyright infringement, and escalate protections for digital locks on content.

For folks in the US, go here to take action and demand that your elected representatives call for a hearing on these secretive negotiations that would trade away your Internet freedoms.

If you're outside of the US, you can sign this Stop the Trap Petition to send let government leaders and trade representatives know that you oppose any provisions in TPP that would criminalize or otherwise restrict the use of the Internet.