Another massive, secretive trade deal is threatening Internet freedom.
Article by PublicCitizen
While a domestic debate about net neutrality rages and public demands for better data privacy protections grow, a U.S. trade pact proposal leaked today reveals that issues related to both policies are being negotiated in closed-door trade talks to which corporate trade advisors have special access, said Public Citizen.
The leaked text is the U.S. proposal for language relating to e-commerce and Internet issues in a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which is now being negotiated between a 50-country subset of World Trade Organization members. The pact would require signatory countries to ensure conformity of their laws, regulations and administrative procedures with the provisions of the TISA; failure to do so could subject a country to trade sanctions. Negotiators are pushing to complete and implement the pact next year.
“This leak reveals a dangerous trend where policies unrelated to trade are being diplomatically legislated through closed-door international ‘trade’ negotiations to which industry interests have privileged access while the public and policy experts promoting consumer interests are shut out,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Given the raging domestic debate over net neutrality, the growing demands for more data privacy and the constantly changing technology, a pact negotiated in secret that is not subject to changes absent consensus of all signatories seems like a very bad place to be setting U.S. Internet governance policies.”
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