The biggest tech news in America recently was the possible passing of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which has currently been put on hold due to large scale online protests from groups, individuals and other corporations concerned that the act, which on the surface, is aimed at stopping File Sharing and Piracy, but concerns were raised that it can also be abused to restrict individuals rights for freedom of expression on the internet.

However, there is another treaty currently being progressed in the EU, which has been developed by media corporations, behind closed doors, that could be used to criminalise internet users and destroy freedom of speech on the internet. The 2 videos below highlights some of the main concerns of the ACTA treaty and why this must be stopped to protect our freedoms and stop internet censorship.

Below is a campaign letter we have received from AVAAZ, giving further details of why ACTA needs to be stopped. AVAAZ is a group dedicated to highlighting the concerns of the ACTA treaty and campaigning at an EU and global level to get the treaty stopped.

Dear friends,

Last week, 3 million of us beat back America’s attack on our Internet! — but there is an even bigger threat out there, and our global movement for freedom online is perfectly poised to kill it for good.

ACTA – a global treaty – could allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties — even prison sentences — against people they say have harmed their business.

Europe is deciding right now whether to ratify ACTA — and without them, this global attack on Internet freedom will collapse. We know they have opposed ACTA before, but some members of Parliament are wavering — let’s give them the push they need to reject the treaty. Sign the petition — we’ll do a spectacular delivery in Brussels when we reach 500,000 signatures:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_save_the_internet/?tta

It’s outrageous — governments of four fifths of the world’s people were excluded from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations and unelected bureaucrats have worked closely with corporate lobbyists to craft new rules and a dangerously powerful enforcement regime. ACTA would initially cover the US, EU and 9 other countries, then be rolled out across the world. But if we can get the EU to say no now, the treaty will lose momentum and could stall for good.

The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers’ access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, the ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny.

Big corporate interests are pushing hard for this, but the EU Parliament stands in the way. Let’s send a loud call to Parliamentarians to face down the lobbies and stand firm for Internet freedom. Sign now and send to everyone you know.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_save_the_internet/?tta

Last week, we saw the strength of our collective power when millions of us joined forces to stop the US from passing an Internet censorship law that would have struck at the heart of the Internet. We also showed the world how powerful our voices can be. Let’s raise them again to tackle this new threat.

With hope and determination,

Dalia, Alice, Pascal, Emma, Ricken, Maria Paz and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/23/if-you-thought-sopa-was-bad-just-wait-until-you-meet-acta/

ACTA vs. SOPA: Five Reasons ACTA is Scarier Threat to Internet Freedom
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/286925/20120124/acta-sopa-reasons-scarier-threat-internet-freedom.htm?cid=2

What’s Wrong With ACTA
http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number10.1/whats-wrong-with-ACTA

The secret treaty: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and Its Impact on Access to Medicines
http://www.msfaccess.org/content/secret-treaty-anti-counterfeiting-trade-agreement-acta-and-its-impact-access-medicines

ACTA is a growing concern as a treaty which could create wide scale internet censorship and monitoring of all internet traffic and online communications. If anyone would like to sign the petition to encourage EU politicians to reject the treaty, please click on the Stop ACTA banner on the top-right hand-side of the site.

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