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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Germany To Pull Back From ACTA

Germany is currently pulling back from the controversial ACTA treaty, because the latter is seen to be worrying free Internet advocates throughout the globe. 

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Presented as a law designed to stamp out counterfeit goods imports, the agreement features worrying implications for the Internet liberty. Germany was expected to sign the treaty, but after noticing the increasing flak from the public, German government seems not that enthusiastic anymore.

Although Germany’s home office hasn’t outright decided against the agreement, it will still delay its decision until the European Union makes up its mind this summer. According to the local media reports, signing the treaty has already turned into a sort of complicated discussion. Some of the reports even claim that German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, has taken a decision to withdraw the formal signing of the treaty. However, this doesn’t mean that the country has changed its mind and a decision will be made later.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, public scrutiny has pressured the governments, demanding to delay ratification. Realizing the political suicide of openly supporting the agreement has seen politicians claim they support an open Internet and wouldn’t sign away the fundamental rights of their citizens.

The treaty is especially worrying today because it is a global law, discussed and penned by the governments behind closed doors lacking transparency. At the same time, in the United Kingdom, business secretary Mark Prisk announced in the House of Commons that discussing Internet censorship would be happening “imminently” and was encouraging proposals. Later, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has denied his announcement, claiming that the measures to filter the Internet are unnecessary, as Internet service providers already can do so.

Further protests against the agreement have been scheduled for this oncoming Saturday, across all Europe. A number of Internet services are ready to help the protesters to organize by compiling handy maps of everyone. For instance, the protest in London will start at 2pm, outside the British Music House.

It is still not clear whether easing away from supporting the agreement will prove a populist smokescreen, but burying bad news appears not that easy when the entirety of the Internet is angry and keeps its eyes wide open.

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