hands off our internet
It’s been losing steam for months, but the European Union’s controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement might finally be down for the count. The BBC reports that INTA, the European Parliament’s trade committee, has ruled to reject the treaty, in a vote of 19 to 12.
After the vote, lead committee member and (and crusading ACTA opponent) David Martin explained that the document was simply too vague and the sanctions seemed disproportionate. Then he got a little grandiose, as parliamentarians have been known to do: “I’m glad that civil liberties won over,” he said.
It’s starting to feel like someone declared war on Internet piracy earlier this year while we were busy reading Reddit. But while the battle over Internet laws continues, the discussion sparked by anti-piracy legislation earlier this year seems to have disappeared.
The fight now centers on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that the European Union signed in January. This still-murky law, most of which was crafted quietly behind closed doors, has potential to threaten those who make the Internet their livelihood. So where are the Internet masses who came out in full force, blocking out websites and amassing in person in protest of the twin anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA?
Anonymous clobbered several dot-gov web addresses early Friday, including Consumer.gov and NCPW.gov, the website for information on National Consumer Protection Week. The hacker(s) posted a German-language anti-A.C.T.A. video and an anti-security (#antisec) rant explaining their rationale for the action: