ACTA Update I

Glyn Moody | ComputerworldUK | February 1, 2012

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or, or on Google+ will have noticed something of a crescendo of posts about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) recently. There are two reasons for this.

The first is that the immediate threat of SOPA and PIPA has subsided somewhat (although it's important to stress that they are by no means dead, and that they, or something very like them, will come back soon enough.) With that fire now put out, I've been able to turn my attention back to ACTA - and just in time, it seems.

For on Thursday 20 January, 22 members of the European Union signed the treaty - including the UK, to its shame. There has not been a single opportunity for members of the public in this country to express their views on any aspect of this treaty. Indeed, the treaty was negotiated in complete secrecy, broken only by the occasional leaks, including a key one from Wikileaks that really proved crucial in terms of allowing the general public to see how they were being stitched up behind closed doors.

Since it is signed, you might think we are just stuck with it; fortunately, because of the Byzantine way the European Union works, the European Parliament too must formally accept the treaty - and that is our opportunity. For the defeat of SOPA/PIPA, albeit temporary, and the Wikipedia blackout that took place on 18 January, has changed many things...