How the TPP will gut environmental protection

I've posted a bunch about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a shadowy, secretive trade deal that will have a disastrous effect on the Internet, privacy and free speech, thanks to the brutal copyright provisions the US Trade Rep has crammed into it. But that's not the whole story.

Michael sez, "You might be interested to know the TPP looks terrible for environmental protection too, due to a proposed mechanism called 'investor-state arbitration'. Basically this'd allow investors to sue countries for passing legislation detrimental to the financial interests of those investors. Yep, think environmental protections, workers' rights laws and any other kind of public protection that might reduce a profit margin. Read the rest

Data visualization shows US isolation in pushing for brutal Trans-Pacific Partnership

Gabriel Michael, a PhD candidate at George Washington University, subjected the IP Chapter of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaked by Wikileaks last week to statistical analysis. The leaked draft has extensive footnotes indicating each country's negotiating positions. By analyzing the frequency with which the US appears as the sole objector to other nations' positions, and when the US is the sole proponent of clauses to which other nations object, Michael was able to show that TPP really is an American-run show pushing an American agenda, not a multilateral trade deal being negotiated to everyone's mutual benefit. Though Canada is also one of the main belligerents, with even more unilateral positions than the USA. Read the rest

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TPP's worst evil: making all future copyright reform impossible

In an excellent editorial, Michael Masnick explains what's so nefarious about the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- the secretive trade treaty whose IP chapter leaked yesterday. As Masnick explains, the worst aspect of this treaty is that it locks in all of our present, overreaching copyright rules, effectively making it impossible for Congress and the Copyright Office to continue their present work on modernizing copyright for the digital age, and ensuring that they can never do so in future: Read the rest

Wikileaks publishes the "Internet Chapter" of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (SOPA's back)

Wikileaks has published the Internet Chapter of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade-deal negotiated between corporate leaders and government reps without any democratic oversight (the US Trade Rep wouldn't share TPP drafts with Congress, and now it is headed for fast-tracking into law). TorrentFreak has parsed out the text, and compares it to SOPA, the brutal US copyright law that collapsed in the face of massive public protest. The treaty is reportedly at a "negotiated stalemate" thanks to the US Trade Rep, who has refused to bend on treaty provisions that other nations objected to. Read the rest

NYT endorses brutal, secret, Internet-destroying corporatist TPP trade-deal; write to your lawmaker to fight it

The New York Times has endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership; a trade deal negotiated in utmost secrecy, without public participation, whose text is still not public. From leaks, we know that TPP wasn't just anti-democratic in its process -- it also contains numerous anti-democratic provisions that allow private offshore companies to overturn domestic law, especially laws that allow for free speech and privacy online. TPP is slated for fast-tracking through Congress, minimizing any scrutiny of a deal negotiated behind closed doors before it is turned into law. From what we've seen of TPP, it recapitulates all the worst elements of ACTA and then some. The Electronic Frontier Foundation needs you to write to your lawmaker demanding full and public debate on TPP. Read the rest

Clothes have power over your mind

David McRaney, author of You Are Now Less Dumb and the host of Boing Boing's podcast You Are Not So Smart, made this video about the effect your clothes have on the way you think and behave. Read the rest

10 cool things so far at Boing Boing: Ingenuity

Our first-ever stage event is going great today, bringing us into the material plane for the very first time. All day Sunday, we've got all sorts of fascinating presentations, astounding performances, and living curiosities on show at a former Masonic Lodge in San Francisco.
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Prominent politicians and negotiators in poor countries speak out against TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a sweeping, secret global treaty that sets out many corporatist policies by which countries surrender their national interest and sovereignty in favor of corporations, who get to violate local regulations and rules and sue countries that try to enforce them. A lot of the opposition to TPP has centered on its insane copyright provisions (leaked TPP drafts have included things like mandatory border-searches of laptops and phones for pirated music and movies; as well as "three-strikes" rules like the failed French HADOPI system, whereby whole families would be disconnected from the Internet if their router was linked to unsubstantiated claims of piracy). But increasingly, the participating countries are growing nervous with the whole premise of TPP.

Read the rest

Congressman gets a look at secret Trans-Pacific Partnership draft: "This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests"

Rep Alan Grayson (D-FL) is the first Congresscritter to get a look at the text of the super-secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently being negotiated by Obama's US Trade Representative (the Obama administration, like the Bush admin before it, claims that the President has the authority to negotiate and enter into trade agreements without Congress's approval). The TPP has been controversial, as several leaked drafts and discussion documents have shown that the entertainment industry has used it as a vehicle for attempting to win brutal Internet and PC rules, including hard-drive searches at the border, surveillance and censorship powers, and more.

Grayson was dismayed by what he saw in the current draft of the bill, and has affirmed Senator Warren's remark that "If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States."

The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.

1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.

2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].

(Well, I did promise to tell you only two things about it.)

I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got.

Read the rest

Sen Warren to US Trade Rep: release the Trans-Pacific Partnership docs - if they piss the people off, then we shouldn't be part of it

Senator Elizabeth Warren has written an open letter to Michael Froma, the nominee to run the US Trade Representative's office, calling on him to release the text and negotiating documents for the secretive, controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), whose sweeping and brutal copyright provisions make it clear that this is the next attempt to pass SOPA and ACTA -- the US law and international treaty that flamed out in 2012.

“I appreciate the willingness of the USTR to make various documents available for review by members of Congress, but I do not believe that is a substitute for more robust public transparency,” Warren wrote to Froman, who is now an assistant to the president. “If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”

Senator Warren Presses White House to Release Pacific Trade Text [Mark Drajem/BusinessWeek] (via Reddit) Read the rest

EFF beats the Trans Pacific Partnership to Peru, sounds the alarm about upcoming brutal, secret copyright treaty meeting

Danny O'Brien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez,

The latest round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership starts today in Lima, Peru. Embedded in the trade agreement is an IP chapter that, according to leaks, exports the worst of US copyright law -- DRM blocks, extended copyright terms, ISPs as copyright cops -- without even of the judicial and constitutional counterbalances that US activists have fought so hard for.

In such a giant trade agreement, the Internet issues have sometime risked getting ignored by the mainstream press, and missed by the techies who'd be most affected.

But EFF's international rights director, Katitza Rodriguez, is Peruvian. She's spent the the last month working out of Lima's Escuelab hackerspace, talking to hackers, makers, journalists and artists about the dangers of IP chapter. The result has been petitions, memes, and videos, as well as meetings with politicians and articles in the Peruvian press.

We Beat Them to Lima: Opening a New Front Against Secret IP Treaties (Thanks, Danny!) Read the rest

What's big, corrupt, terrifying and worse than ACTA? TPP. Here we go again!

Remember ACTA, the terrifying, secret SOPA-on-steroids copyright treaty that the US government tried to ram down the world's throat? Well, it's back, only this time it's called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and it's limited (for now) to the Pacific Rim. The TPP negotiators are meeting (in secret, natch) in Peru to twirl their mustaches and cackle, and EFF has posted a great infographic summing up their nefarious plan (see the whole thing after the jump):

The TPP is likely to export some of the worst features of U.S. copyright law to Pacific Rim countries: a broad ban on breaking digital locks on devices and creative works (even for legal purposes), a minimum copyright term of the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years (the current international norm is the lifetime plus fifty years), privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement, ruinous statutory damages with no proof of actual harm, and government seizures of computers and equipment involved in alleged infringement. Moreover, the TPP is worst than U.S. copyright rules: it does not export the many balances and exceptions that favor the public interest and act as safety valves in limiting rightsholders’ protection. Adding insult to injury, the TPP's temporary copies provision will likely create chilling effects on how people and companies behave online and their basic ability to use and create on the Web.

Read the rest

Obama's regressive record makes Nixon look like Che

Redditor Federal Reservations has made a handy post enumerating all the regressive, authoritarian, corporatist policies enacted by the Obama administration in its one-and-a-bit terms. You know, for someone the right wing press likes to call a socialist, Obama sure makes Richard Nixon look like Che Guevara. And what's more, this is only a partial list, and excludes the parade of copyright horrors and bad Internet policy emanating from the White House, via Joe Biden's push for Six Strikes, the US Trade Rep's push for secret Internet censorship and surveillance treaties like TPP and ACTA and TAFTA; the DoJ's push to criminalize every Internet user by expanding the CFAA, and much, much more.

Obama extends Patriot Act without reform - [1]

Signs NDAA 2011 (and 2012, and 2013) - [2]

Appeals the Federal Court decision that “indefinite detention” is unconstitutional - [3]

Double-taps a 16-year-old American-born US citizen living in Yemen, weeks after the boy's father was killed. Administration's rationale? He "should have [had] a far more responsible father" - [4]

Continues to approve drone strikes that kill thousands of innocent civilians including women and children in Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries that do not want the US intervening; meanwhile, according to the Brookings Institute's Daniel Byman, we are killing 10 civilians for every one mid- to high- level Al Qaeda/Taliban operative. This is particularly disturbing, since now any military-aged male in a strike zone is now officially considered an enemy combatant - [5]

Protects Bush’s war crimes as State Secrets - [6] [7] [8]

Waives sections of a law meant to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in Africa in order to deepen military relationship with countries that have poor human rights records -[9]

Read the rest

Canadian government trying to launder secret copyright treaties into law

Michael Geist sez, "The Canadian Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology released its report on the Intellectual Property Regime in Canada yesterday. While most the recommendations are fairly innocuous, the report involves a classic case of policy laundering as the government has fabricated support for the Canada - EU Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provisions that were not even raised at committee. The report recommends ratifying four intellectual property treaties, despite the fact the treaties weren't discussed before committee.

"Why? Leaked versions of CETA and TPP both include requirements to ratify them. Should Canada reach agreement on CETA or the TPP, the committee report will presumably be used by the government to short-circuit further review on those treaties or to simply claim support for ratification on the basis on a committee recommendation that was secretly fabricated behind closed doors without any witness raising the issue during the public hearings."

Industry Committee Report on Intellectual Property: A Case of Policy Laundering for CETA and TPP Read the rest

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan invests in Internet surveillance company that backstops notorious dictatorships

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) has joined a private equity consortium that acquired the notorious Internet surveillance company BlueCoat, yoking teachers' retirement security to the fortunes of a company that has systematically assisted some of the world's most brutal dictatorships to censor and surveil their citizenry. Blue Coat has blood on its hands, people rounded up and tortured and even killed thanks to it and products like it, and it's a disgrace for teachers -- whose professional ethics embrace freedom, intellectual inquiry, and fairness -- to be part of the financial exit strategy for the people who founded and ran that company.

Ron Deibert and Sarah McKune from the University of Toronto's CitizenLab and Munk School of Global Affairs have written an op-ed in the Toronto Star, detailing some of BlueCoat's ethical unsuitablity, and the fact that the OTPP went into the transaction having been thoroughly briefed on what they were getting into.

If you'd like to read more about BlueCoat, check out CitizenLab's excellent report: "Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools."

Now, a year later, Citizen Lab has released a new report, Planet Blue Coat: Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools. Using a combination of technical interrogation methods, our researchers scanned the Internet to look for signature evidence of Blue Coat products. While our investigation was not exhaustive and provided only a limited window of visibility into the deployment of such tools, what we were able to find raises serious concerns.

We uncovered 61 Blue Coat ProxySG and 316 Blue Coat PacketShaper devices, which are designed to filter online content and inspect and control network traffic.

Read the rest

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