Canadians call on Harper to say no to extreme U.S.-driven Internet censorship proposals at final TPP talks next week
Led by citizen-backed OpenMedia.ca, Canadians are speaking out against secretive U.S. plans to censor the Internet and restrict free expression online
This morning, OpenMedia.ca launched a Say No to Internet Censorship petition working with advocacy group RootsAction, which appeals to Stephen Harper and other world leaders to reject extreme proposals that will make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed. Experts say that, “kids could be sent to jail for downloading” and whole families could be kicked off the Internet.
Canadians have also expressed outrage that our Members of Parliament have been denied access to the TPP negotiating texts - access that is granted to their counterparts in the U.S. Congress. Official Opposition Trade Critic Don Davies has warned that: “American legislators are being given an undue advantage over Canadian MPs” and has accused the government of “keeping Parliament completely in the dark on negotiations”.
“With talks about to conclude, this is the last chance for Canadians to speak out against the huge damage the TPP will do to our daily lives,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Powerful U.S. interests are pressuring Stephen Harper to agree to costly Internet censorship proposals that could make our Internet use more expensive, policed and censored. The Prime Minister should make a commitment to not let the TPP overturn our own democratically developed digital policy.”
Anderson continued: “An open Internet is vital for the future of Canada’s economy and society - Canadians will not accept that future being undermined by U.S. old media lobbyists who are desperately trying to shore up their failing, outdated business model.”
Last December OpenMedia.ca’s Steve Anderson asked Canada’s chief TPP negotiator to uphold Canada’s copyright legislation but she refused to commit to do so. A full report back on the experience can be found here.
The Say No to Internet Censorship petition asks Stephen Harper and other TPP leaders to:
- Protect the right of everyone to access the Internet in their daily lives.
- Do not force ISPs to act as “Internet Police” monitoring our Internet use, censoring content, and removing whole websites.
- Preserve the democratic rights of sovereign countries to draft their own copyright laws.
Thousands of Canadians are speaking out now at http://OpenMedia.org/censorship
OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
About the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
The TPP is one of the most far-reaching international free trade agreements in history. We know from leaked TPP draft texts that participating nations would be bound to much stricter and more extreme copyright laws than now exist under current national laws. These new rules would criminalize much online activity, invade citizens’ privacy, and significantly impact our ability to share and collaborate online.
Negotiators from 12 of the TPP negotiating nations—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States—met in Malaysia to discuss these changes without input from the public, creators, or most businesses. The negotiating documents are classified—unless you are one of just 600 industry lobbyists permitted to participate.
TPP meetings took place in Malaysia from July 15th to the 24th. Negotiators have indicated that they are in the “home stretch”, with leaders of the participating countries expecting a resolution sometime in October. However, reports have indicated that the intellectual property provisions have been quite a “challenging” issue for those behind the agreement.
Over 15,000 people have now signed a petition at http://OurFairDeal.org, which demands that negotiators reject copyright proposals that would restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights.
Internet users around the world are beginning to layout their own crowdsourced vision for copyright policy at: https://OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture.
Communications Coordinator, OpenMedia.ca
- In August 2013, OpenMedia and the Our Fair Deal Coalition launched an alternative process to the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, enabling citizens to have their say on shaping their digital future.
- In May 2013, OpenMedia and Coalition partners sent TPP Trade Ministers a letter to demand a ‘Fair Deal’ on provisions that would restrict Internet use in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
- We also sent a message to new U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman by purchasing a hard-hitting Washington D.C. newspaper ad.
- In December 2012, OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson took our message direct to TPP negotiators in Auckland. Read his full report from Auckland here.
- In June 2012, OpenMedia joined with a diverse coalition of groups to launch the StopTheTrap.net petition - a petition which gained over 135,000 signatures and which was hand-delivered to TPP negotiators in San Diego.