The demise of SOPA and PIPA, as temporary as it may be, means attention is now turning to ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). ACTA is a trade agreement that has already been signed by the United States and is even worse than SOP/PIPA. Trade Agreements do not require the same type of scrutiny that bills and laws do so ACTA was able to squeak by unnoticed. Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States are all signatories, but pressure is already being applied to other countries to join. The EU has not yet signed ACTA but has to do so before May 2013.
The BRIC group of emerging nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are not part of the ACTA movement and have no serious incentive to join. The Indian government may even be forming a movement to counter the act.
As with SOPA and PIPA, ACTA takes a fairly bland idea – the right of companies to profit from their own intellectual property – and turns it into a governmental power grab and an excuse to weaken privacy on the Internet. The reason the activists are turning their attention to ACTA is that it provides the basis to criminalize almost any online activity. ACTA will give governments and large corporations the pretext to shut down any site, and imprison its owners, should there be political or corporate objections to that site’s content.Imagine a site runs a political story which is objectionable to someone in power. The site perhaps can’t be shut down because of that story, but ACTA will allow the authorities to find some other obscure breach that can be used. That’s also true of SOPA and PIPA.
Watch this video which explains the danger of ACTA.