The online activist group known as Anonymous is targeting supporters of the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and European Parliament because of the controversial effects that policies like these have on our future. ACTA is compared by many to be the European version of SOPA, but worse. Created in 2006, ACTA was written in secrecy with the authors being Japan and the United States. Huge media corporations such as the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America were chosen as consultants for the treaty. It has been signed by many countries including New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and even the United States among other countries. The only reason this treaty has become public was because of a few documents released by WikiLeaks. On the surface, it is meant to stop online counterfeiting and piracy but many protestors say it has the potential of limiting freedom of speech and expression, and may lead to surveillance and censorship by media companies.
Goodbye To Creativity And Innovation?
Anonymous also has shown their support against SOPA, which was stopped after a heated backlash from companies like Google and Wikipedia and millions of users. The reason ACTA is worse is because once a claim against a suspected site is brought up, regardless if it’s accurate or not, it cannot be repealed. Laws and policies like ACTA and SOPA scare users because they have potentially negative effects on future online innovations and discourage people from being creative. They give too much power to media groups who could quite easily abuse the policy for their own personal gain. They don’t even need to be a hundred percent sure if a site is hosting a service that violates the policy. Policies like these, even if they are vetoed, show a disturbing pattern.
Governments need to cease censorship and let their countries grow and express themselves. Sites like Twitter had gotten backlash from users because certain governments in overseas countries limit their citizens’ freedom of expression, which means even “tweets” can be censored if deemed a violation. The censorship of the internet would be a blow to the public’s access to pure information as it happens. The final vote in order to ratify the ACTA treaty has to go through European parliament and will take place in June of this year. For more information you can freely type A.C.T.A into any search engine such as Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube for more information.
Christian Diaz is a freelance writer and tech enthusaist. You can follow him on Twitter.