Blown To Bits

Say It Ain’t So, Barack

Saturday, March 14th, 2009 by Harry Lewis

The Obama administration is invoking “national security” to prevent the American people from knowing what is in the intellectual property protection treaty it is negotiating with foreign governments. (That page has a wonderful morph of Bush to Obama. Other coverage of this story is aggregated by Jamie Love here.) That’s right — the administration has turned down flat a Freedom of Information Act request for the details of the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA), which has nothing to do with making phony money, but instead deals with peer-to-peer file-sharing and other forms of digital copying. With a straight face, the government is claiming that our national security would be endangered if American citizens were to know what deal is being cut with other industrialized countries about monitoring music and movie downloads. Yes — we actually do know a bit about what is in the draft treaty, because of a leaked document, which appears on Wikileaks. You can download it there — it’s a summary sent by a US ambassador to interested industry folks, but not to the public interest groups who generally are vigilant about the downside of high IP protection barriers. According to the Wikileaks digest,

The document reveals a proposal for a multi-lateral trade agreement of strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods hiding behind the issue of false trademarks. If adopted, a treaty of this form would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime, with new cooperation requirements upon internet service providers, including perfunctionary disclosure of customer information. The proposal also bans “anti-circumvention” measures which may affect online anonymity systems and would likely outlaw multi-region CD/DVD players.

For shame, Mr. President. This is government of the people, by the people, for the people? Tell us what is up.

6 Responses to “Say It Ain’t So, Barack”

  1. Knowledge Ecology Notes » Some recent news on the denial of access to ACTA documents under FOIA on national security grounds Says:

    [...] http://www.bitsbook.com/2009/03/say-it-aint-so-barack/ Blown to Bits, Say It Ain’t So, Barack, by Harry Lewis, March 14th, 2009 [...]

  2. Blown to Bits » Blog Archive » President as the Commander-in-chief of Cybersecurity Says:

    [...] you recall how capacious “national security” interests can be — broad enough that allowing the American public to see the draft of an anti-music-piracy trade agreement drafted with the assistance of the RIAA is also considered a national security threat. By that [...]

  3. GT Says:

    Is it really any wonder that a socialist would do something like this??

  4. Russ Says:

    Yes, actually, it is a wonder that a “socialist” would do this. Socialism is an economic system, and has nothing to do with Civil Liberties or their governance. Let us not forget that every post-industrial nation is a socialist nation, even (gasp!) America before Obama. Most of them manage to have compassionate, sane, and open governments, so why can’t we?

    There is no excuse for betraying the principles he was voted into office upon.

  5. Barry Says:

    A Polititian….LYING to gain office-Ha,Ha!Clinton is in Iraq spewing forth that “We will not desert you” to the eight or so Iraqis in Iraq that actually still want us there.Why,thats EXACTLY what we’re going to do!Hasnt anyone been paying attention?We have been surrealy recreating Vietnam in Iraq since 2003 and the final act had to be a hasty ‘Larry,Moe and Curly’ style departure,just like the shoddy way we repayed the few faithful Viets who expected us to actually do what we said we were going to do.The Iraqis and the Vietnamese could ask a few Oglala Souix about the veracity of big,pretty words and treaties and promises from the Big White Chiefs….

  6. Blown to Bits » Blog Archive » Senate Moves to Give President Control Over the Internet Says:

    [...] security as the reason not to share a draft intellectual property treaty with the public. (See Say It Ain’t So, Barak, March 14, 2009.) By that standard, the government could take over the Internet on a whim or a [...]