THE DRACONIAN Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) threatens personal privacy according to a man in Europe with a nose for this sort of thing.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) says that if it is not adopted properly and implemented with some basis in reality, it will "have unacceptable side effects on fundamental rights of individuals".
As we have heard before, from the Pirate Party for example, the ACTA treaty includes some murky terms that mean that while it shows a face that promises to protect rights, it actually hides elements that will do the opposite.
"While more international cooperation is needed for the enforcement of IP rights, the means envisaged must not come at the expense of the fundamental rights of individuals. A right balance between the fight against IP infringements and the rights to privacy and data protection must be respected," said Giovanni Buttarelli, assistant EDPS. "It appears that ACTA has not been fully successful in this respect."
There are a number of concerns coming out of the EDPS office such as the worry that ACTA gives a greenlight to indiscriminate and widespread internet usage and communications monitoring, "in relation to trivial, small-scale, not for profit infringement". The EDPS says that this would be "disproportionate and in breach of fundamental rights, and the data protection requirements".
David Martin, the MEP who is the rapporteur for ACTA has already recommended that the agreement be rejected, and today he suggested that the EDPS announcement was another step towards this. He said that rejection by the European Parliament is "very likely, but not certain".
ACTA has a lot of opposition and has been the subject of online and physical protests as it makes its way towards acceptance or rejection. A European Parliament debate on accepting it is expected in June. µ