A lightly discussed agreement known as ACTA, or Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, has been the subject of criticism by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Information. In a joint press release, the non-profits report that more than a thousand pages of content regarding ACTA are still being withheld.
The release of this information is ostensibly under the purview of the US Trade Representative (USTR). EFF and Public Knowledge (PN) filed for this release under FOIA in September 2008. This apparent indifference to public process is odd in light of what the EFF/PN press release calls the "official summary" provided by USTR. The USTR's official summary of the process released last month, the EFF International Affairs Director claims, "recognized the lack of transparency so far while doing nothing to broaden stakeholder input or engage public debate. The radical proposals being considered under the Internet provisions deserve a more transparent process with greater public participation."
There are several potentially far-reaching and worrisome regulations under consideration in ACTA:
- ACTA could establish far-reaching customs regulations over Internet traffic in the guise of anti-counterfeiting measures
- Some multi-national IP industry companies have publicly requested that ISPs be required to engage in filtering of their customers' Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material
- Possible mandatory disclosure of personal information about alleged copyright infringers
- Possible "Three Strikes" policies requiring ISPs to automatically terminate customers' Internet access upon a repeat allegation of copyright infringement.