ACTA unlikely to happen, says European Commissioner


Neelie Kroes, The European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, said in a speech on Friday that the controversial ACTA bill was unlikely to come into effect. ACTA is a trade agreement that aims to eliminate the international exchange of counterfeit goods and pirated material. It has been signed by 22 of the 27 EU states, along with the US, Canada, Japan, and others, but must be approved by the EC to become European law. The trade agreement is currently being investigated by the European Court of Justice over concerns that its invasions of privacy are against European law. Kroes said that we are "likely to be in a world without SOPA and without ACTA," and we now need to "find solutions to make the Internet a place of freedom, openness, and innovation fit for all citizens."

Last month the European Data Protection Supervisor released a 20-page document highlighting ACTA's shortcomings that significantly reduced the possibility of the trade agreement becoming reality in its current state. There have been protests throughout the EU that Kroes recognized in her speech; "This is a strong new political voice. And as a force for openness, I welcome it, even if I do not always agree with everything it says on every subject." The commissioner went on to note the importance of legislating against cyber-criminals, but said it must not be at the cost of individual freedom. She believes that "yes the Internet should be open; and yes it should be free. But that is not the same as being a lawless wild west."

A free internet "is not the same as being a lawless wild west"

From Kroes' speech, it seems inevitable that an ACTA-like agreement will be passed in the future, but it appears as though legislators will have to more carefully consider citizens' freedom to privacy if they want to gain approval from the European Commission.

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