“Dear Ian Hudghton, David Martin, Catherine Stihler, George Lyon, Struan Stevenson and Alyn Smith,
I write to you in connection with what I personally view as the major violation of our privacy and human rights, the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
My view is that the treaty was proposed, after it was negotiated in secret, after intense lobbying from greedy multinational corporations and aims at protecting their interests and only theirs! However if their business models are not strong enough to protect their copyrighted work what problem is that of ours? They should change their business models instead of requiring ISPs to infringe on our rights of privacy and right to be considered innocent before being PROVEN guilty. Business goes hand in hand with both profit and losses and they should accept it and move on with their lives like approximately 6 billion other people on the face of this earth do, the vast majority of which living VASTLY under poverty threshold. If those gentlemen want to limit their loses they should do so at business level by changing the flawed business models, not by proposing illegal treaties. Adam Smith, a Scottish social philosopher widely cited as the father of modern economics and capitalism, in his book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” proposes that the capital should work for the society and not vice versa.
ACTA presumes that the recipients of a counterfeit good would have bought the original good otherwise. As a person who has studied psychology as a degree for two years this to me seems extremely outrageous! There was a research done, which involved two groups of people with as much soup as they could consume freely available to them. One group had the plates full with soup in front of them ready and to take and consume but the other group had to actually take the empty plate and pour the soup themselves. Now although this research was aimed at food disorders it also serves perfectly to illustrate my point. According to ACTA in this research, assuming the soup was a copyrighted work of some kind, the number between the two groups should be the same. However, even for the soup, which in both cases was a good freely available to them with the only price to pay in the one group being the physical act of getting it themselves, which I’m sure you will agree with me is relatively negligible, the numbers between the groups were different! And I’m asking you now. If you could only afford 30 pounds to spend on a specific good that you can leave without, would you be willing to pay 500 pounds for the original if the 30 pound version of it did not exist?
As I mentioned above ACTA was negotiated in secret, and now politicians are considering making it law. If people aren’t given an opportunity to engage with their lawmakers about a law, should it be enacted? And if it is enacted do they still have to follow it since it is fundamentally an illegal law while also taking into consideration the fact that it infringes on their rights? Especially if it leads them further to an Orwellian society taken right out of “1984”! If ACTA becomes law what should I expect next? Thought police? You might think this is a ridiculous argument but with all the cameras being installed in every corner of UK it’s not far from the truth. Especially when taking into consideration all the incidents that have been reported over the years of police intimidation to protesters which I’m sure I do not have to point out to you infringes on their right to freedom of speech! Who’s to tell me that they won’t spy on me in the future? Not that they can’t do it at present since their current facilities allow for it up to a degree.
Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights as it allows people to criticise and purposefully offend faces, situations and events for change towards the better to take place. It would strangle social evolution! Without that they would be no diversity of opinion and this world that we leave in relies on diversity! Be that of genes, species, opinions or options!
The internet under government control means WE, the people, are no longer the stakeholders. With government intelligence control over internet, tyranny could run wild! You want the markets free yet the internet government controlled?
If you, just like many, wish to counter my argumentation with “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” I must quote to you that it is a myth that is built on certain false assumptions, and these assumptions are never questioned when it is wheeled out as an argument to support whatever draconian surveillance measure is being pushed out in the face of citizen opposition. (http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/the-data-trust-blog/2009/02/debunking-a-myth-if-you-have-n.html). It only applies to a Utopian society, and since our society is far from and Utopian one, and it’s moving further from it by the years, and mistakes do happen and are bound to happen with mathematical certainty. As we say, “anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment”
I shall leave you with the legal maxim “abusus non tollit usum”, “abuse does not preclude proper use” and hope that I managed so far to convince you to completely oppose ACTA or any similar treaty that might be proposed again in the future in any name shape or form.