Vigilance remains necessary

Not one week after the crushing defeat suffered by ACTA in the European Parliament, comes another trade agreement fresh on its heels. This time, it is called CETA (Canada-EU Trade Agreement), a trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. Rather worryingly, certain provisions of the CETA text seem to be copied and pasted from the ACTA text. Is the European Commission already trying to sneak ACTA in under the radar?

Yes, say a number of Internet authorities on such matters. It all began with a posting by Michael Geist with the title “ACTA Lives: How the EU & Canada Are Using CETA as Backdoor Mechanism To Revive ACTA”. It was then quickly picked up by Techdirt and BoingBoing. Michael Geist does have a rather compelling list of phrases from the CETA agreement, which, when put next to ACTA text, sound frighteningly similar. Seeing the two side by side, it is easy to get the impression that there is something very sneaky going on.

However, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the world’s first Pirate Party and political evangelist adds some caution to the knee-jerk reaction of others. He reminds us that the current CETA text was drafted in February 2012, when it looked to most people that ACTA would pass the European Parliament with flying colours.  The people who wrote this text simply copied from ACTA which they thought would become reality. By now, we know that ACTA has failed to pass so the text looks like an attempt to bring ACTA back through the backdoor but in fact it doesn’t have to be.
A much needed voice of reason, in my opinion!

If anything, the text of the CETA agreement does demonstrate very clearly that we must remain vigilant. ACTA may have failed to pass and may be as good as dead. But tomorrow, a new treaty, a new agreement or a new law may be introduced that is as bad or even worse than ACTA threatened to be. The fight against ACTA may be over in Europe, but the fight for our (digital) freedom is only just beginning!