Michael Geist on ACTA: Exclusive Two-Track Process Revealed

July 30, 2008

Professor Geist’s latest update on ACTA shenanigans in Canada came out on July 28, in The Toronto Star.

You really should go read the whole thing, but here are my two favorite chunks:

What [Canadian Industry Minister Jim] Prentice did not reveal is that officials have been developing plans to establish an “insider” group comprised solely of government departments and industry lobby groups that would be provided with special access to treaty documentation and discussion.

The decision to create a two-track approach for ACTA consultations appears to have been deliberate. The same documents discuss the prospect a public track that would include a general public consultation (which was held in April) along with the insider group that would be privy to treaty information

there is absolutely no representation of the public interest — no privacy representation despite the obvious privacy implications of the treaty (the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada was not included on the government invitee list), no consumer representation despite the effects on consumer interests, and no civil liberties representation on a treaty that could fundamentally alter Canadian civil rights.

The government documents indicate that members would engage in “in-depth exchanges on technical negotiating issues” and therefore be required to sign confidentiality agreements in order to participate.

This is egregious stuff. Kudos to Geist for breaking the story – and unfortunate that it hasn’t gotten much play in the international press.

I also have to wonder whether this formalized two tier approach been pursued elsewhere?

FOIA request anyone?


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