ACTA Dealt Heavy Blow In EU Parliament

In case you haven’t heard, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been rejected by the European Parliament in a vote of 478 to 39 with 165 abstaining, with the only UK MEP voting in favour being Liberal Democrat, Bill Newton Dunn. Considering this is the party of Graham Watson, the MEP who boasts about his involvement with the horrendous European Arrest Warrant, this isn’t surprising.

Whilst this is certainly a good day for the internet and liberty, it will come as no surprise that the European Commission just isn’t going to give up. Now awaiting the ruling of the European Court Of Justice, should they declare ACTA compatible with EU law, it is likely the commission will put the agreement before parliament again. This battle is not over.

ACTA is also not the only international threat to the security of the internet. The Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP, is currently being written by the US Trade Representative’s Office and US Patent And Trademark Office, USTR and USPTO respectively, with Hollywood having an even heavier hand than with ACTA. The common phrase, “behind closed doors” simply does not do this new threat justice with even members of the senate and the house unable to gain access to the negotiations.

Last but not least on the forefront of threatening an open internet is the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union, which with the support of the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association, is also proposing to levy a tax on all internet service providers and content delivery networks with the aim of raising revenue to keep afloat state run monopoly providers who are being squeezed by the competing private sector.

Whilst these threats lurk in the background, this day should still be celebrated by freedom lovers everywhere but nobody should believe we have secured the internet from the clutches of the state.

Note, in the interest of tonight’s Libertarian Home meeting concerning UKIP, you will be glad to know that not a single MEP from the party voted in favour of the agreement, with only Godfrey Bloom and Trevor Colman abstaining.

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ACTA protest plans

I am gathering expressions of interest in attending, and leafletting, the ACTA demo on 9th June. The intention will be to reach out to other protestors as much as members of the public. Both audiences will not have normally dealt with or heard from Libertarians.

It will be an opportunity to meet and socialise with naturally libertarian people but in a purposeful setting. They will be active on the issue of protecting the open internet and will enjoy hearing from people who agree with them, and curious about their very different reasons for opposing ACTA.

The public will consist of random folk going about their business curious enough to pause and take a leaflet. They will appreciate a well written explaination of the issues, and getting a leaflet from a libertarian sub-group will give them a second perspective and add weight to the anti-ACTA focus of the march.

We went to Occupy LSX to let them know they are dead wrong and expected a bit of confrontation. I was very pleased that we didn’t get any confrontation, but actually benefited from an interesting debate. The result was a fun day out in the sun. Because we agree to such an extent that ACTA and DEA are wrong, the set-up is much more of a win-win for everyone attending so I hope to join in common cause and expect the day to be a great deal of fun.

To ensure we meet the longer term objective I will be preparing a leaflet that plugs this website and social media addresses so that anyone finding themselves sympathetic can follow what we’re doing. The leaflet is about 30% done and is focused on the fact that an open Internet is a huge economic asset to people and I will attempt to explain why a closed Internet is not good enough. To help bolster the economic focus, I am also mentioning the cookie directive and net neutrality.

If you would like to help out please RSVP via email to or Facebook.