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As Obama tries to lock down Trans-Pacific Partnership, huge first-of-its-kind international campaign shines a light on TPP’s secretive Internet censorship plan

reddit, Avaaz, OpenMedia and other groups join together to shine “Stop the Secrecy” spotlight on prominent buildings in Washington D.C. to protest TPP’s Internet Censorship and secrecy

 

April 22, 2014 – As U.S. President Obama prepares for a week of crucial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, a large, broad-based international campaign is taking its message to the heart of Washington, D.C. Starting tonight, a ‘Stop the Secrecy’ projection will be beamed on to prominent buildings urging an end to the excessive secrecy around the TPP. The projection will get bigger and more powerful as more people sign on to the campaign at StopTheSecrecy.net

For the first time, the campaign brings together the world’s largest online campaigning organization (Avaaz), with one of the world’s most popular social networking websites (reddit), groups that led the Internet blackout in 2012 (Fight for the Future), and a range of other organizations from several countries.

The initiative is led by OpenMedia.org, a community-based group that safeguards the open Internet. Despite the secretive nature of the TPP talks, leaked documents expose 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 fast track the secretive TPP.

“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.org 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: “The stakes could not be higher - the TPP covers 40% of the global economy and is being called a blueprint for the rest of the world. If we don’t act now, the TPP will be used to globalize censorship everywhere.”

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.

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, Pacific Asia Research Center, Disconnect, LeadNow.ca, Flush the TPP, Public Services International, HoCo Climate Change, Avaaz, 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 http://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.

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Contact

David Christopher

Communications Manager, OpenMedia

1-778-232-1858

david@openmedia.ca

 

 

More Information

  • Internet governance expert says U.S. trying to strong-arm Canada into economically-damaging Internet censorship rules in international agreement. Source: OpenMedia.ca

  • Full text of the TPP’s Internet censorship chapter - source: Wikileaks

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.