Next week, negotiating countries will meet for another round of talks on the infamous ACTA, which among other things aims at tackling the unauthorized sharing of cultural works over the Internet. In the past days, members of the European Commission sought to soothe parlementarians, public-interest groups and citizens by saying that the agreement would not go further than existing EU law.
Neelie Kroes, soon-to-be Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, commented the ACTA negotiations during her confirmation hearing on January 14th, saying that there will be no "harmonization by the back door". She also seemed to rule out any further harmonization of Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) enforcement in Europe, and told reporters after the hearing that the "mere conduit" principle - a principle essential to Net neutrality and guaranteed by the e-Commerce directive - will be maintained.
But, as recent developements make clear, ACTA could severely impact Net neutrality and other founding principles of the Internet that ensure the proper exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms on the Internet, even without any change to EU law.