Trans-Pacific Partnership Signed

Despite protests and opposition, the Trans-Pacific Partnership moves forward. After negotiations finished up in October and after months of cleaning it up, one of the biggest threats to internet freedom has been signed. That doesn’t mean it’s in force now, the signing was an important step though. The next step is a two year ratification.

This means now that it’s been signed, the TPP needs to clear Congress in the US and the Parliament in Australia and so on. Which isn’t long when compared to the fact that the TPP was being negotiated in secret for nearly 6 years. Once all of the countries have ratified the TPP, it will come into force in 60 days. If it doesn’t get ratified in 2 years, it’ll come into force in April 2018 if at least 6 of the 12 countries have ratified the TPP.

The TPP is a deal between 12 countries, the United States, Canada, Vietnam, Peru, Mexico, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, and Brunei.

With the TPP in place, the internet would be everything we’ve feared. The deal is like a reincarnation of the failed SOPA act.

According to the EFF, the TPP will severely violate our digital rights.

It would also make ISPs no longer just internet service providers, one example of this being:

“ISPs may block Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as part of their duty to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized transmission of copyright material. As an intermediary, VPNs could also be made liable for the transmission of infringing works if they fail to follow safe harbor rules such as disconnecting repeat infringers.”

Copyright laws will be ramped up along with DRM. So much so that copyright periods will extend to life plus 70 years. Because of the DRM nightmare, whitehat hackers could be out of a job since it will be illegal to tinker or modify devices that you own. The TPP will also stand in the way of journalists and whisteblowers since it will illegal to publish information that reveals corporate trade secrets even if the information reveals corporate wrong-doing. Websites could be downranked in search results or removed altogether if it receives too many copyright infringement notices.

These are just a fraction of the implications that the TPP will have on our lives if the TPP comes into force. Not even fans of anime are safe.

There is still hope though.

Motherboard reports “Signing is just one more (albeit largely symbolic) procedural hoop for TPP-signing countries to jump through, Geist said, and it really doesn’t mean much on its own. Most countries, Canada included, are likely to wait and see if the US ratifies the deal or not before doing it themselves, Geist added. Although President Barack Obama has expressed his support of the deal, US ratification is not a sure thing.”

The EFF has also stated that “Due to both political reasons and the terms of stipulated by the TPP, the agreement cannot go into force without the United States’ ratification. That’s why it’s so critical that people in the U.S. demand congressional accountability over this deal and urge their lawmakers to vote no when the TPP comes before them for approval.”

So there is still a chance that we can stop the TPP and preserve our internet.

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