[ComputerWeekly] Anti-counterfeit deal breaks EU privacy, free speech laws, MEPs told

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Consumer and civil rights organisations around the world have asked the European Parliament to oppose clauses in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) that permit authorities to bar internet users from sharing files.

European negotiators are due to present their response to a US proposal on policing the internet for illegal file-sharing on 17 December.

« It is now time for the European Union to firmly oppose the dangerous measures secretly being negotiated, such as ‘three strikes’ schemes and content filtering on the internet, » said La Quadrature du Net, one of the signatories to an open letter sent to the European Parliament.

The letter said it appeared that Acta went far beyond current EU law. It said a recent analysis by the European Commission of the Acta chapter on the internet confirmed that the current proposals « would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy ».

The signatories also objected to the fact that European Parliamentarians had been denied access to the negotiating documents, but commercial US firms had had access to them under non-disclosure rules.