On June 28, 130 Democratic representatives sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk calling for more transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement talks. The TPP agreement covers a range of international issues, but it is the provisions relating to the Internet (and its regulation) as well as intellectual property that have brought the most criticism.
In the letter to Kirk, the congressional Democrats urged Kirk and his staff to “engage in broader and deeper consultations with members of the full range of committees of Congress whose jurisdiction touches on the wide-ranging issues involved, and to ensure there is ample opportunity for Congress to have input on critical policies that will have broad ramifications for years to come.”
Now there is a petition circulating on the Internet, Stop the Trap, which is to be sent to key government leaders and trade representatives in the following countries: Australia, Chile, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, Vietnam, Canada. The organizers note that the the February 2011 draft of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Rights Chapter would “drastically increase Internet surveillance, increase Big Media’s Internet lockdown powers, and criminalize content sharing in general, with a likelihood of harsher penalties.”
The letter reads:
I oppose any provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that would expand the power of conglomerates, including by criminalizing or otherwise restricting the use of the Internet. I oppose an online environment that lets big media conglomerates invade my privacy, remove online content on demand, saddle me with heavy fines, or terminate my access to the Internet.I call on the governments involved in the TPP to make the process transparent, accountable, and open to public participation and to all interested stakeholders.