United States International Privacy Privacy Deficit Free & Open Internet

As Obama tries to lock down Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canadian Internet freedom group takes message directly to U.S. Capitol

Canada’s OpenMedia leads huge international campaign shining “Stop the Secrecy” spotlight on prominent buildings in Washington D.C. to protest TPP’s secretive Internet Censorship plan

Despite the secretive nature of the TPP talks, leaked documents have exposed how the TPP would make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed. More than 2,300,000 people have spoken out against U.S. government attempts to force Canada and other smaller nations into signing up to economically damaging Internet censorship and other proposals in the TPP. Last year Canada joined 11 other nations in the TPP negotiations.

“With secretive TPP talks coming to a crunch, this is a crucial week for those who care about free expression online and our democratic rights,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “If the TPP’s censorship plan goes through, it will force ISPs to act as “Internet Police” monitoring our Internet use, censoring content, and removing whole websites. A deal this extreme would never pass with the whole world watching - that’s why U.S. lobbyists and bureaucrats are using these closed-door meetings to try to ram it through. Our projection will shine a light on this secretive and extreme agreement, sending decision-makers a clear message that we expect to take part in decisions that affect our daily lives.”

President Obama is in Asia for a week of intensive, closed-door talks with world leaders aimed at finalizing the TPP. Meanwhile, in Washington an army of lobbyists are trying to ram through a fast track law that would force the TPP through the U.S. Congress without a public debate.

Internet expert Prof. Michael Geist recently wrote on his blog that U.S. demands are “increasingly out-of-step with the rest of the world and do not represent either actual or emerging international norms.”

Steve Anderson continued: “We know from leaked documents that the Canadian government hasn’t yet caved to the more extreme U.S.-driven proposals. Canadians want their government to stand strong - and we’ll know if they cave to U.S. pressure. There will be a heavy political price to pay if they do give way and support the TPP’s job-killing Internet censorship plan. We’ve asked the government and Minister Ed Fast to make a commitment to uphold the laws we passed through a democratic process, especially pertaining to free expression online. So far the government and bureaucrats have refused to make that commitment to Canadians. ”

An international campaign led by OpenMedia is calling for Obama to end the secrecy by immediately releasing the full text of the TPP so that it can be debated democratically by the public. To date, all TPP negotiations have taken place in near-total secrecy, with just 600 industry lobbyists and government bureaucrats at the table. Citizens and public interest groups have been excluded from the talks.

Experts are speaking out to warn Canada about the damaging economic fallout of adopting Internet censorship rules under the TPP. Australia was forced to adopt similar rules under their Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., with deeply damaging economic results. The Australian government’s Productivity Commission estimated that extensions to copyright terms alone cost the Australian economy $88 million in revenue flowing overseas. The U.S. is trying to force the 12 TPP countries to agree to extended copyright terms, along with many other economically damaging Internet censorship measures in the TPP.

The Stop The Secrecy initiative is hosted by OpenMedia.org, Daily Kos, and Fight for the Future, in collaboration with: Electronic Frontier Foundation, Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, Reddit, FireDogLake.com, Public Citizen, Demand Progress, Sum of Us, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Tucows, Disconnect, Pacific Asia Research Center, LeadNow.ca, Flush the TPP, Public Services International, Avaaz, HoCo Climate Change, Backbone Campaign, 350.org, Council of Canadians, New Zealand Open Source Society, SMART, Derechos Digitales, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy in Action Chicago, Move to Amend, Global Exchange, Scoop.nz, Popular Resistance, United Students for Fair Trade, Responsible Energy Investment, Rabble.ca, Expose the TPP, and Corporate Accountability International.

Thousands of citizens are calling on Obama to stop trying to fast track the secretive TPP at http://StopTheSecrecy.net

About OpenMedia

OpenMedia is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.

Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia has engaged over half-a-million citizens, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

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— are meeting in Asia this week 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.

U.S. negotiators are pushing hard to force smaller nations into accepting a censored Internet. However, reports have indicated that the intellectual property provisions have been quite a “challenging” issue for those behind the agreement.

Over 139,000 people have now signed a petition at https://OpenMedia.org/censorship, which demands that negotiators reject copyright proposals that would restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights.



David Christopher
Communications Manager, OpenMedia
[email protected]

More Information

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet. Take action now

View all campaigns
Take action now! Sign up to be in the loop Donate to support our work