The draconian aspects of the TPP related to the internet were exposed in 2013 by Wikileaks.
Leaked drafts revealed it would police, censor and gain the internet more expensive.
In addition to intimidating journalists and limiting access, the agreement contains provisions that require social media and online hasten providers such as Facebook and YouTube to irregular speed after one complaint.
The strict rule is already in achieve in the United States, but the provisions will require this in all countries covered by the agreement.
The agreement also allows countries to peculiar computers of individuals allegedly interested in copyright infringement, which is broadly expanded under the deal.
In 2013, the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned the “TPP is likely to export some of the worst features of U.S. copyright law to Pacific Rim countries: a big ban on breaking digital locks on devices and creative works (even for factual purposes), a minimum copyright term of the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years (the unusual international norm is the lifetime plus fifty years), privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement, ruinous statutory damages with no proof of concern pain, and government seizures of computers and equipment alive to in alleged infringement.”
On Monday the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations reached an agreement on the accord.
It will now go before Congress where it stands a chance of defeat as a contentious presidential cycle unfolds.
emember that referendum about whether we should construct a single market with the United States? You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws? No, I don’t either. Mind you, I spent 10 minutes looking for my inspect the other day before I realised I was wearing it. Forgetting about the referendum is another imprint of ageing. Because there must have been one, mustn’t there? After all that agonising over whether or not we should tedious in the European Union, the government wouldn’t cede our sovereignty to some black, undemocratic body without consulting us. Would it?
The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to weird the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. But I left out the most principal issue: the much ability it would grant vast business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and ruin our correct protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.
The mechanism through which this is achieved is known as investor-state hasten settlement. It’s already being traditional in many parts of the world to end regulations protecting people and the living planet.
The Australian government, after massive debates in and out of parliament, decided that cigarettes should be sold in boring packets, marked only with valid health warnings. The decision was validated by the Australian supreme court. But, using a trade agreement Australia struck with Hong Kong, the tobacco company Philip Morris has asked an offshore tribunal to award it a gargantuan sum in compensation for the loss of what it calls its intelligent property.
During its financial crisis, and in response to public madden over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people’s energy and water bills (does this sound familiar? ) . It was sued by the international utility companies whose astronomical bills had prompted the government to act. For this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation. In El Salvador, local communities managed at spacious cost (three campaigners were murdered) to persuade the government to refuse permission for a huge gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.
In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the gracious effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada’s patent laws are changed.
These companies (along with hundreds of others) are using the investor-state hasten rules embedded in trade treaties signed by the countries they are suing. The rules are enforced by panels which have none of the safeguards we demand in our believe courts. The hearings are held in secret. The judges are corporate lawyers, many of whom work for companies of the kind whose cases they hear. Citizens and communities affected by their decisions have no good standing. There is no true of appeal on the merits of the case. Yet they can overthrow the sovereignty of parliaments and the rulings of supreme courts.
You don’t fill it? Here’s what one of the judges on these tribunals says about his work. “When I wake up at night and inform about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all … Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal blueprint, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament.”
There are no corresponding rights for citizens. We can’t miserable these tribunals to inquire better protections from corporate greed. As the Democracy Centre says, this is “a privatised justice system for global corporations”.
Even if these suits don’t succeed, they can exert a grand chilling accomplish on legislation. One Canadian government official, speaking about the rules introduced by the North American Free Trade Agreement, remarked: “I’ve seen the letters from the recent York and DC law firms coming up to the Canadian government on virtually every current environmental regulation and proposition in the last five years. They fervent dry-cleaning chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, patent law. Virtually all of the unusual initiatives were targeted and most of them never saw the light of day.” Democracy, as a meaningful proposition, is impossible under these circumstances.
This is the system to which we will be subject if the transatlantic treaty goes ahead. The US and the European commission, both of which have been captured by the corporations they are supposed to regulate, are pressing for investor-state speed resolution to be included in the agreement.
The commission justifies this policy by claiming that domestic courts don’t offer corporations sufficient protection because they “might be biased or lack independence”. Which courts is it talking about? Those of the US? Its bear member states? It doesn’t say. In fact it fails to originate a single concrete example demonstrating the need for a unusual, extrajudicial system. It is precisely because our courts are generally not biased or lacking independence that the corporations want to bypass them. The EC seeks to replace launch, accountable, sovereign courts with a closed, deplorable system riddled with conflicts of interest and arbitrary powers.
Investor-state rules could be obsolete to fracture any attempt to put the NHS from corporate control, to re-regulate the banks, to curb the greed of the energy companies, to renationalise the railways, to leave fossil fuels in the ground. These rules shut down democratic alternatives. They outlaw leftwing politics.
This is why there has been no attempt by the UK government to hasten us about this dependable assault on democracy, let alone consult us. This is why the Conservatives who huff and puff about sovereignty are soundless. Wake up, people we’re being shafted.