Senate passes TPP fast track The Senate is expected to vote today to give President Obama "fast-track" authority to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress. The secretive deal involves 12 countries and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. It has come under heavy criticism from labor activists claiming it as one of the harmful bills against labor, environmental, and intellectual property rights.
The day before House Democrats defeated President Barack Obama's request for fast-track authority on trade agreements, The New Yorker's William Finnegan examines the strange bedfellows the Trans-Pacific Partnership has led to and asks Why Does Obama Want This Trade Deal So Badly?
Wikileaks unveils the Trade In Services Agreement, covering 50 countries and with potential to affect up to 80% of the US economy. Under the agreement, governments may not be able to regulate staff to patient ratios in hospitals, or ban fracking, or tighten safety controls on airlines, or refuse accreditation to schools and universities. US regulation of Wall Street could be invalidated much the same way that public health policies against tobacco in Africa and Asia were struck down under currently existing international trade treaties. The text was to remain classified for five years AFTER being signed, and the White House is refusing to comment on "leaked negotiating documents."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has come under fire for the sweeping effects it may have on intellectual property laws in signatory countries, and is expected to export and even extend some of the worst features of US copyright law, including the criminalisation of DRM circumvention. The level of secrecy surrounding the agreement has been controversial: the US Trade Representative has refused to make the text of the agreement public, and only three persons in each TPP nation have access to the full text. The New York Times editorial board has been criticised for its endorsement of the deal, when the public (and supposedly the NYT) were unable to read the agreement. In advance of the 19-24 November Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Wikileaks has obtained and published the secret negotiated draft text of the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, including negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states. [more inside]
Jacob Appelbaum speaks about resistance in his keynote address at 29c3 (previously : 28c3, 24c3) [more inside]
Anti-ACTA protests have begun around Europe after the secret treaty was signed in Tokyo last Friday. Activists have planned larger protests for Saturday 11 February. The European Parliament will formally consider ACTA in June. (previously) [more inside]
The once-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) slouches toward signing on Saturday. ACTA is expected to raise constitutional issues in the U.S., raise soverenty issues in the E.U., give copyright holders extensive powers to impose DRM and identify alleged infringers, and increase health risks worldwide. In addition, the U.S. has launched the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) to obtain what copyright provisions were stripped from ACTA. (see michaelgeist.ca, techdirt, or slashdot) [more inside]