D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Nevermind C-61, ACTA Should Be Our Focus

Monday, June 23, 2008 7:57 AM

[Edit: Kent raised a great point in that I may have come accross in this post suggesting we ignore C-61 entirely and focus on ACTA. That was not my intention, and I believe we should be following both motions carefully. I highlighted ACTA only because it will be discussed next month at the G8 summit and possibly accepted, where C-61 will not be resolved until after the summer session break.]

There’s something going down behind closed doors. Something that everyone in North America should be outraged, infuriated, and angry about. Something that is going on without our consultation as citizens…and if this passes, it means that your tax dollars are going to be used to police copyright legislation on behalf of the entertainment industry.

ACTA stands for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It’s an agreement being negotiated between the G8 countries, and could be adopted at the next G8 summit…in July…of this year.

But what does this agreement mean to you and me? Canada.com has a great article that dives into the details, but here’s a summary of the two major items:

1. ISP’s can hand over customer information without a court order

2. Border guards become copyright police

Now obviously item 1 opens the door to a huge privacy issue: being able to access customer information from ISP’s without a court order is a can of worms that can be tied to not only the entertainment industry’s activity, but potentially to government bodies looking for people with religious or political affiliations.

So let’s spend some time on the more humorous item: #2. Now to expand on what “copyright police” means: under ACTA border guards would be given authority to search your laptop, iPod, cell phone…any device that can hold media…for copyright material. If they deem that the material violates anti-piracy laws, they can confiscate your device.

Now, border guards searching laptops isn’t new. Tom Kyte wrote a blog post about a recent border crossing experience he had. Canada has been doing random searches at airports, looking for child porn. But reading Tom’s blog post gives you an idea of what the future holds: border guards who aren’t trained to identify copyright from legit material, let alone figure out how to open a laptop. How is a border guard to identify an illegally downloaded MP3 from one ripped from a CD you own? The answer is they can’t.

We need to act now and let our governments know what we think. In Canada, ACTA has a very dubious slant to it: unlike bill C-61 that has to go through parliament, this is a federal trade agreement which does not. There is no voting in parliament, no acceptance required by the house, nothing. Add to it that getting detailed information about ACTA has proved to be impossible, and we’re left wondering what exactly the motives are for joining this coalition.

I continue to be bewildered how our governments are continuing to cater to a non-vital industry. I believe that there needs to be laws put in place to protect copyrights and intellectual property, but it is not the role of our government to police an industry that should be reconsidering their business model in light of public opinion and trend instead of trying to get governments to bend the rules in their favor.



# re: Nevermind C-61, ACTA Should Be Our Focus

I definitely agree with you on ACTA, but it's not an either/or situation: you can be against both, and I think the damage from both of these are huge. I (like you) am confused by our government and their priorities. 6/23/2008 11:58 AM | Kent Sharkey

# re: Nevermind C-61, ACTA Should Be Our Focus

Looks like I will have to cancel my fishing trip to Northern Ontario this year.

Why bother going on vacation if your privacy will be violated by doing so? I can have more fun staying in the USA.

6/23/2008 6:54 PM | Jonathan Starr

# re: Nevermind C-61, ACTA Should Be Our Focus


I mind them both.

I will never vote Conservative again. 6/23/2008 11:59 PM | Jimmy

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