ACTA Goes Too Far, Says MEP

Charles Arthur | The Guardian | February 1, 2012

The French MEP who resigned his position in charge of negotiating the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has said it "goes too far" by potentially cutting access to lifesaving generic drugs and restricting internet freedom.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Kader Arif – a member of the European parliament's international trade group, who was the lead negotiator over ACTA – said that despite talks over the agreement having begun in 2007, "the European parliament, which represents the rights of the people, had no access to this mandate, neither had it information of the position defended by the commission or the demands of the other parties to the agreement".

Arif resigned in protest on 26 January as the EU signed the treaty, saying that he wished to "denounce in the strongest manner the process that led to the signing of this agreement: no association of civil society [and] lack of transparency from the beginning". He said that it now threatens online freedom, access to the use of generic versions of drugs for treating illnesses, and could potentially mean that someone crossing a border who has a single song or film on their computer could face criminal charges...