A couple of days ago, PC World ran a piece where Commerce Minister Simon Power was quoted saying NZ officials were ‘pressing for greater transparency’ in future Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negoitations.
He disputed media claims that the negotiations were being held in secret, saying agendas, reports and summaries for each of the seven previous ACTA rounds had been published on the Ministry of Economic Development website.
“As with any negotiation, however, it is important that when working towards an agreement on complex issues, participants are able to exchange views in confidence. For this reason, the participants in ACTA have agreed that the actual text under debate should be kept in confidence between the participants.”
ACTA did not focus on the private, non-commercial activities of individuals and would not impact on the internet experience of the average New Zealander, Power said.
“ACTA will not involve cutting internet access, and internet service providers will not be made to filter or monitor their networks.”
I’ve searched the National Party website for a media statement saying how and when he will do that, but can’t find anything. Am a bit unsure what he means. I guess it’s easy to say “I’ll press for more transparency” and then come back and say”Well I tried my best but it didn’t work”.
And today, writing in Computerworld, Juha Saarinen asks whether ACTA is harmless or a horror? He writes:
Is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) a harmless attempt to quietly harmonise intellectual property laws and enforcement around the world, or a threat to civil liberties that will require fundamental legislative changes to implement?
The views of officials and lobby groups differ widely on what ACTA entails.
ACTA negotiations will be held in Wellington 12-16 April at the Intercontinental Hotel, according to a leaked agenda document. There is widespread concern in New Zealand and abroad about what is contained in those discussions and who is pushing what negotiating positions. New Zealand is not a big player, but we have considerable amount at stake.
InternetNZ’s Johnathon Penney says the spirit of the treaty will have to be adhered to under international law, and New Zealand can’t enact legislation that contradicts ACTA. As it stands, ACTA is essentially an extension of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA, according to Penney and introducing it will alter New Zealand law, especially the Copyright Act.
Simon Power needs to show New Zealanders how he will attempt to achieve more transparency in these talks. Not just pay lip service.