Anybody with a brain in their head who has looked into it can see ACTA as a serious threat to both generally accepted civil liberties and due legal process.
Unfortunately, the arguments against it have tended to veer towards the emotional rather than the carefully reasoned.
Looks like that's just changed with the release of a 90-page and somewhat ponderously titled OPINION on the compatibility of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with the European Convention on Human Rights & the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
It's written by Douwe Korff, Professor of International Law at London Metropolitan University; and Ian Brown, a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford.
from the introduction:
About this Opinion:
This Opinion was prepared at the request of the Greens/European Free Alliance group in the
European Parliament. It follows a request by Jan Albrecht, Green/EFA MEP, to the EP Legal
Affairs Committee to find out “if the final Version of ACTA and its foreseen legislative procedure is
in line with the Treaties of the European Union and which legal possibilities there are for the
European Parliament to challenge this in front of the European Court of Justice.” It seeks to provide
part of the answer to that question (only), in that incompatibility of ACTA with the European
Convention on Human Rights and/or the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights would make adoption
and implementation of the Agreement illegal under EU law. The Opinion sets out the views of the
authors that there is indeed such an incompatibility, with the underlying arguments.
I just finished working my way through it, and it's a valuable read.
The Greens|European Free Alliance website
has posted a good summary of the conclusions of the paper if you're not up for reading through the entire thing:
ACTA anti-counterfeiting agreement
New study underlines rights concerns with ACTA, strengthens calls for deal to be scrapped
A new study on the compatibility of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, commissioned by the Greens/EFA group, was presented in the European Parliament today. The study underlines concerns that the ACTA agreement violates fundamental rights, strengthening the arguments of the Greens and others that are calling for the agreement to be scrapped. Speaking at the launch, Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht said:
"This study shows clearer than ever that the ACTA agreement violates binding fundamental rights. As such, the EU and its member states cannot ratify the agreement and have a duty to scrap the ACTA agreement as it stands.
"As the study points out, encouraging the 'cooperation' between internet providers and the content industry amounts to privatised policing, violating the rule of law and the right to fair judicial process. ACTA also allows for the monitoring of internet users without initial suspicion, the handing over of their personal data to rights holders on the basis of mere claims and the transfer of this data even to countries without adequate data protection, all of which is in clear conflict with legal guarantees of fundamental rights in the EU. The agreement does not contain 'fair use' clauses or exceptions for trivial or minimal infringements. It therefore tilts the balance - both in terms of substance and of process - unfairly in favour of rights holders and against users and citizens.
"Given the clear fundamental rights concerns with this agreement, the European Parliament should not consent to its ratification. As a first step to this end, the EP should refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice for a final legal opinion (2), before it proceeds with any consent vote, and the Greens will push for this referral to take place later this year."
They've also provided link to the press conference video
and a link to download the paper
Be sure to check it out. ACTA is something that will affect all of us in alarming ways if it's allowed to stand unchallenged and remain unchanged from its present form.