Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined dozens of civil society groups from around the world in calling for the release of the secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a massive proposed trade agreement that could quash digital rights for Internet users everywhere in the name of intellectual property protection.
A representative from OpenMedia International is presenting a letter from the coalition to several TPP delegates on Thursday and Friday at the TPP negotiations in Washington, D.C. The letter demands open debate and oversight of the trade deal, which threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.
"The TPP has been under negotiation for five years, but the only real information we have about it has been through leaks," said EFF Global Policy Analyst Maira Sutton. "Those leaks show extremely troubling provisions, including expanding laws that hurt fair use and free speech along with a number of privacy-threatening enforcement proposals. We've recently seen the European Union take bold new steps to enable real public participation in its trade agreement negotiations with the United States, and it's time for TPP ministers to follow their lead, stop the secrecy, and release official drafts of the TPP text."
The most recent leak of the TPP confirmed that draft provisions on anti-circumvention could restrict tinkerers and makers from modifying legally purchased electronic devices, and that language on service-provider liability could encourage companies to scour all customers' communications just to track down any potential copyright infringement. The leak also revealed new, dangerously vague text on the misuse of trade secrets, which could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through a "computer system" that is considered "confidential." This language could have alarming consequences if nations are obligated to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistle blowers.
"Twelve countries are involved in the TPP negotiations, but because of the interconnected nature of global communications, this agreement stands to hurt people around the world," EFF Senior Global Policy Analyst Jeremy Malcolm said. "We need transparency and real public debate now."
For the full letter to TPP negotiators:
For more on the TPP:
Global Policy Analyst
Electronic Frontier Foundation