Source: Natural News
Date: October 08, 2015
Author: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Are Natural News, its growing network of news and information sites and all other alternative media in danger of becoming extinct? This thought would become more than just a remote possibility if newly revealed data about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement the Bush and Obama administrations have spent years negotiating are revealed to be accurate.
According to the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), a non-profit organization that focuses on protecting civil liberties in today’s Information Age, a recent leak of a May 2014 draft of the TPP agreement revealed the addition of new text that criminalizes the misuse of trade secrets via “computer systems.”
“This is a significant revelation,” said the EFF in a blog post, “because we also know that trade secrets are planned for inclusion in the EU-US free trade agreement, TTIP (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).
“The revelation of the proposed text in the TPP provides a good indication that the same kind of language will likely also appear in TTIP,” EFF continued. “Frighteningly, this text contains no protections to safeguard the public interest.”
EFF says that the U.S. Trade Representative’s sudden interest in the protection of trade secrets comes mainly amid reports of rampant cyber espionage against U.S. government and private industry computer systems emanating from China. Such reports have also led to domestic proposals like this year’s Defend Trade Secrets Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April, along with a companion House bill. If approved, the measures would create a new federal right of action for theft of trade secrets, according to the EFF.
Criminalizing access to information?
However, in August, 31 law professors penned a letter in opposition to these two measures on several grounds, including the measures’ potential use for anti-competitive purposes, as well as the possible negative consequences it might have on access to information.
“Labeling information as a trade secret has become a common way to prevent public and even regulatory access to important information ranging from the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids to the code inside of voting machines, all of which have compelling (but not uncontroversial) reasons for public access in a democracy,” the professors wrote.
EFF says that even if the measures pass, the U.S. government’s ability to enforce them against foreign competitors will be limited to the usual diplomatic approaches such as economic sanctions.
“The introduction of new language on trade secrets into both TPP and TTIP — which may become the United States’ two largest trade agreements — is therefore a parallel tactic to address cyber-espionage on the global stage,” EFF notes.
As noted at the Liberty Blitzkrieg website, the Obama administration recently announced that the TPP had been signed by all 12 nations involved in crafting it, after eight years of negotiations. It is a cornerstone of Obama’s economic legacy, so the White House is going all out to get Congress to agree to it.
Danger to the Internet and agriculture
Also, Common Dreams is reporting that the provisions unearthed by EFF indicate that the Internet is also in danger.
“Internet users around the world should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact,” OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist Meghan Sali told the site. “What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching — that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.”
In addition to these usurpations, as Natural News has previously reported, TPP also criminalizes saving seeds while pushing a pro-Monsanto biotech patent monopoly.
“As America races toward her date with destiny, there is yet another ‘fundamentally transforming’ event coming her way, and that event is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” Dave Hodges of The Common Sense Show said. “The TPP is a plot designed to hand over control of the world’s governments to private corporate interests and it is all being done in secret. Even Congress is not allowed to examine the TPP provisions.”