While the socially connected in the United States are focusing on subjects like CISPA, Kony 2012, and, apparently, something called "2 Chainz," our friends across the pond are still dealing with ACTA, and the implications it represents. While the treaty hasn't been ratified on an European Union level, there are a number of countries that signed it, leading to a great deal of protest from various EU countries like England, Germany, and Poland.
While the issue is still being debated, a couple of prominent members/advisors to the Union have essentially rejected the ACTA treaty, saying it is a threat to individual freedom for EU citizens. The first to outspokenly reject ACTA was David Martin MEP, the current European Parliament Rapporteur. Actually, that's false. The person Martin replaced, Kader Arif, resigned his postion in protest of the treaty, meaning that's two for two in relation to European Parliament Rapporteur rejection of ACTA.
Now you can add the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) to the pile of ACTA rejectors. From their perspective, ACTA is considered a threat to personal freedom. Furthermore, their report defines ACTA as a human rights violation:
As a result, these measures will often constitute an interference with individuals' fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the rights to privacy, to data protection, and to the confidentiality of communications, protected in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU
In a press release (PDF) detailing their position, the content of which was taken from their 16-page report (PDF), the concerns for ACTA are as follows:
- measures that allow the indiscriminate or widespread monitoring of Internet users' behaviour, and/or electronic communications, in relation to trivial, small-scale, not for profit infringement would be disproportionate and in breach of Article 8 ECHR, Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the Data Protection Directive;
- many of the voluntary enforcement cooperation measures would entail a processing of personal data by ISPs which goes beyond what is allowed under EU law;
- ACTA does not contain sufficient limitations and safeguards, such as effective judicial protection, due process, the principle of the presumption of innocence, and the right to privacy and data protection.
When you consider such a scathing response to the treaty, one wonders why the European Parliament hasn't sent the document back to the drawing board. Consider this: not one, but two European Parliament Rapporteurs have rejected ACTA, and now, the EDPS has joined in with their rejection suggestion. It should be noted that the EDPS is, in his own words, an "independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies."
With that in mind, how many more trusted professionals have to speak out against ACTA before the European Parliament acts in a manner befitting of their citizens, as well as their trusted advisors?