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Obama Administration Claims Copyright Treaty Involves State Secrets

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Simply more of what we’ve come to expect from Obama and his predecessors.

Flashback: Latest Round of Closed-Door ACTA Copyright Negotiations Wrap Up | Digital rights groups sue for access to secret ACTA treaty | Transparency needed on ACTA

Techdirt.com
March 13, 2009

Plenty of folks are quite concerned about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations are being negotiated in secret. This is a treaty that (from the documents that have leaked so far) is quite troubling. It likely will effectively require various countries, including the US, to update copyright laws in a draconian manner. Furthermore, the negotiators have met with entertainment industry representatives multiple times, and there are indications that those representatives have contributed language and ideas to the treaty. But, the public? The folks actually impacted by all of this? We’ve been kept in the dark, despite repeated requests for more information. So far, the response from the government had been “sorry, we always negotiate these things in secret, so we’ll keep doing so.” At one point, even the ACTA negotiators held a closed-door meeting and then released a press release saying they discussed being more transparent, but haven’t actually followed through.

When the Obama administration took over, there was a public stance that this administration was going to be more transparent — especially with regards to things like Freedom of Information Act requests. The nonprofit group Knowledge Ecology International took that to heart and filed an FOIA request to get more info on ACTA. The US Trade Representative’s Office responded denying the request, saying that the information was “classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.” This is a treaty about changing copyright law, not sending missiles somewhere. To claim that it’s a national security matter is just downright scary. As KEI points out, the text of the documents requested have been available to tons of people, including more than 30 governments around the world and lobbyists from the entertainment industry, pharma industry and publishing industry.

But when the public asks for them, we’re told they’re state secrets? This is transparency? This is openness?

As Declan McCullagh points out at News.com, Executive Order 12958 only allows material to be classified if revealing it would do “damage to the national security and the original classification authority is able to identify or describe the damage.” Can the US Trade Representative please describe the damage to national security if the public gets to see what’s being proposed that would require governments around the country to enact significantly more draconian intellectual property laws?

Source | See Also under Internet: Internet ad tracking system will put a ’spy camera’ in the homes of millions, warns founder of the web | French government accused of ‘Big Brother’ tactics over internet piracy | Australian web censorship plan to begin trial despite house opposition | Time to regulate online content, cultural groups tell CRTC | Facebook’s Users Ask Who Owns Information | Do We Need a New Internet? | New law to give police access to online exchanges | Chinese Learn Limits of Online Freedom as the Filter Tightens | Britain unveils plans for nationalized internet service | Google plans to make PCs history | EU Police set to step up warrantless hacking of home PCs | Defense Contractors See $$$ in Cyber Security | UK Culture secretary wants international age restrictions for web | Protests in Australia over proposal to block Web sites | Latest Round of Closed-Door ACTA Copyright Negotiations Wrap Up | China restarts online crackdown | CRTC Internet regulation proposals take shape | Cyberbullying verdict turns rule-breakers into criminals | Felony hacking precedent not set in case of Myspace cyberbully | Myspace terms of use could become fulcrum for destruction of online anonymity in precedent setting case | Bell can squeeze downloads, CRTC rules | Australia to Implement Mandatory Internet Censorship | Microsoft patents web moderator robots, forbidden phrases to be memory-holed | CRTC to consider Internet regulation, invites public comment | RCMP to helm a Canadian “cyber-security strategy” | Is an Internet tax coming? | Italian Judge: Blogs are Illegal | Digital rights groups sue for access to secret ACTA treaty | Berners-Lee W3C Consortium to ‘Authorize’ Website Content? | Digital issues deserve spot in election campaign | Critics waging a cyber offensive to fight copyright changes | Law Professor tells tech conference: plans to shut down Internet already on deck | Bell continues throttling Internet, proposes bandwidth caps for resellers | Rogers Looks For New Ways To Annoy Customers, Hijacks Failed DNS Lookups | MySpace signs up to OpenID scheme | Vint Cerf blasts ISPs for choking off internet infrastructure | Bell’s internet throttling illegal, Google says | Canadian Industry Minister lies about Canadian DMCA on national radio, then hangs up | The Canadian DMCA: Check the Fine Print | Government ready to drop copyright bomb | Transparency needed on ACTA | Net neutrality bill hits House of Commons | Revamped copyright law targets electronic devices | New Attempt to Align Canada’s Copyright Act with USA Coming Soon | CRTC revisits Internet oversight | Bell accused of privacy invasion | Canadian DMCA To Be Introduced Tomorrow Morning?

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16 Responses to “Obama Administration Claims Copyright Treaty Involves State Secrets”

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