Monday, October 28, 2013

Anti Counterfeiting Trade Act ~ Lauren Weinstein


Lauren Weinstein is one of the "old" men of the Internet. He created the PRIVACY Forum in 1992, and has been involved with Internet and other technology issues for well over 25 years, starting in the early 1970's at the first site on the Defense Department ARPANET (the ancestor of the Internet), which was located at UCLA. Weinstein is quoted as an expert on a wide range of technology topics and issues of technology's impact on individuals and society, by a wide range of newspaper and magazine articles, and participates in numerous local and network radio and television news programs, talk shows, and other venues where these issues are under discussion.

Lauren Weinstein, during the first two and a half hours of the program, for a discussion on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Act (ACTA), which may pose a serious threat to civil liberties. He explained that ACTA originated as a plan to develop a unified method of dealing with counterfeiting amongst numerous countries. However, over time, the emphasis of the act began to focus more on intellectual property issues, notably Internet piracy, rather than physical counterfeiting.

Detailing some of the troubling aspects of ACTA, Weinstein noted that the plan, itself, has remained shrouded in secrecy as it has been evolved over the last three years. The secret nature of the act's development, he claimed, allowed for it to become a "potpourri wish list for intellectual property owners" at the expense of individual citizen's rights. Additionally, since it is an international agreement, it could be adopted by the United States via an executive order rather than ratification through Congress. In turn, this would create a legal quagmire in America as the plan "specifies what governments are required to do in their national laws" and contains aspects which could violate the Constitution, such as warrantless searches.

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