NON-PROFIT GROUP the Internet Society has written to the European Parliament about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
In its letter addressed to "Honourable Members of the European Parliament" the group says that ministers must use the time between now and official ratification at the end of June to carefully consider the treaty and what it means for the internet.
The letter follows worldwide protests against ACTA that took place this weekend, and comes after a number of countries backed away from the treaty.
"This is an important issue deserving of your close attention," says the letter, signed by Frédéric Donck, director of the European regional bureau of the society. "All that we ask is that before you cast your vote you ascertain the facts, listen to the views of all stakeholders, ask them questions if you need further information or clarification, and make the decision that you feel is right in all the circumstances."
Like others before it, the European Union rapporteur for example, the Internet Society has concerns about how open the negotiation of the treaty was, or rather how closed. The rapporteur resigned, but has been replaced by someone else considered to be more friendly to the treaty.
"Our over-arching concern is with the procedure. We consider there was insufficient transparency and participative engagement with all stakeholders throughout the negotiation process," says the Internet Society.
"We strongly believe that policies and legal norms regarding the Internet and its use (including the enforcement of intellectual property on the Internet) should be should be developed with the full and active participation of all stakeholders in an open and transparent manner."
It says ACTA was not, and therefore is not consistent with its Tunis Agenda for the Information Society. Perhaps worse that this, it said that because it was not developed in an open way, it could undermine confidence in the European political system.
"The Internet Society believes that further and more inclusive discussions are needed on these complex issues before binding agreements are made," it adds. "Further, our concern is that without the combined insight, experience and expertise of all stakeholders, it is difficult to ensure that the appropriate balance will be struck between all interests, and unintended and negative consequences may remain unforseen."
The Internet Society also offered to discuss ACTA with any interested members of the European parliament. µ