OpenMedia.ca issued the following statement this week in response to the Harper government announcing its formal entry to Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement negotiations. The TPP talks continue in Mexico later this month during what they’re calling an inter-sessional focused on regulatory convergence across the TPP region, then Canada will participate at a full negotiating round in New Zealand in early December. The Council of Canadians is one of several international civil society groups participating in the StopTheTrap campaign and is a member of OpenMedia. Click “more” below to read about that campaign, the OpenMedia news release, and the consequences of the TPP trade deal to Internet rules in Canada.
Canada officially joins secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); OpenMedia demands government come clean on proposed Internet restrictions
October 9, 2012 – Canada became an official signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement today, as citizens express concerns about the deal’s negative implications for Internet openness and affordability.
Over 100,000 peopple and several ogaizations have spoken out against the agreement through the petition at http://StopTheTrap.net, with hundreds more signing every day.
The TPP-which has been negotiated behind closed doors since 2008-is a multi-nation trade agreement that contains provisions that criminalize everyday uses of the Internet, which threaten heavy fines for the average citizens online. OpenMedia.ca has learned about the proposed Internet restrictions from leaked documents.
Adding insult to injury, Canada joins the TPP not as an equal partner in the agreement, but as a “second-tier” negotiator. This means that Ottawa will have far less input into the agreement then others countries, such as the United States and China.
While industry and government have so far refused to divulge the actual process, sources suggest that Canada will have to sign onto sections that have already been decided upon through 14 rounds of negotiations – without seeing the text in advance. Canada’s participation in the TPP talks will begin with the 15th round of negotiations, which take place December 3 – 12, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Under the TPP, Big Media conglomerates would have new powers to lock users out of their own content and services, provide new liabilities that might force ISPs to police online activity, and give giant media companies even greater powers to shut down websites and remove content at will. The agreement also threatens to give foreign conglomerates new powers to collect the private online information of Canadians.
These Internet restrictions would be cemented into place through international tribunals, which would sidestep Canada’s own judicial system.
“The TPP is simply undemocratic,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “This is a slap in the face to Canadians-the TPP could allow media conglomerates to become the gatekeepers of Internet use in Canada. The government must come clean and reveal the contents of this secretive and extreme agreement.”
Canadians are joining over 113,000 citizens from around the world in speaking out against the TPP’s restrictions at http://StopTheTrap.net.
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.
About the Stop The Trap campaign
The Stop The Trap campaign pushes back against the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which contains restrictive binding provisions that could criminalize everyday uses of the Internet. It is supported by a diverse coalition of organizations and over 100,000 people from around the world who have signed the petition at http://StopTheTrap.net.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
•Find OpenMedia.ca’s backgrounder on the TPP here.
•See the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) interview with professor Michael Geist on TPP and its effects on Canadian Internet users
•Public interest groups have obtained the February 2011 draft of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. In it, we can see that the TPP would drastically increase Internet surveillance, increase Big Media’s Internet lockdown powers, and criminalize content sharing in general, with a likelihood of harsher penalties.
•See the EFF’s analysis to learn more about the ways the TPP increases the threat of litigation from Big Media. Under the TPP, Big Media could come after you in court even “without the need for a formal complaint by a private party or right holder”.
•See infojustics.org’s list of the TPP’s effects on the intellectual property law in Canada and Mexico for more information on privacy implications