We’ve just learned that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have come to Canada for an intersessional round of talks.
iPolitics is reporting that negotiators are in Vancouver this weekend to discuss the TPP’s investment chapter. These “mini-negotiations” were not publicized by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade – likely to curb any public protest over the controversial agreement, and to keep citizens and other stakeholders on the outside.
The TPP—known to many as the Internet Trap—is an international trade agreement that is being put together by a group of 600 industry lobbyist "advisors" and un-elected government trade representatives.
But it’s more that just a simple trade agreement: Leaked documents show that the TPP would have a hugely negative effect on the open Internet – the agreement includes an intellectual property chapter that would drastically increase Internet surveillance, increase Big Media's Internet lockdown powers, and criminalize content sharing in general, with a likelihood of harsher penalties.
Not helped by the secrecy of this mini-round of negotiations, the TPP has been receiving heavy criticism for its lack of transparency, public participation, and democratic accountability.
The outcry around transparency was heightened further when we at OpenMedia were accidentally sent a non-disclosure agreement, which appeared to be intended only for high-powered lobbyist insiders – a quiet consultation group with privileged access to information about the TPP. In response to this revelation, Canadian digital law expert Michael Geist wrote that “the lack of transparency with the TPP is now exacerbated by a two-tier approach to TPP information with a select, secret group gaining insider access to information.”
People around the world have been clear that we deserve to know what kind of deal our governments are making. Tens of thousands have come together asking for transparency, and that citizens be given a say in the future of our Internet – we simply want a fair deal for citizens, creators, innovators, and the Internet overall.
Though we’ve done a lot already to amplify our voices, there’s still a long way to go in the push to stop the TPP from shutting out citizens and from threatening the Internet as we know it. If you haven’t already, visit http://ourfairdeal.org to learn more and add to the pressure.