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Release of the Full TPP Text Confirms Threats to Users’ Rights (eff.org)
246 points by sanqui on Nov 5, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments

Public Citizen has released initial analysis, http://www.citizen.org/documents/tpp-ecommerce-chapter-analy..., "The E-commerce chapter … addresses a range of issues including duties on digital products, paperless trade administration, and rules on electronic signatures, net neutrality and data protection. The text also includes provisions limiting the ability of countries to keep data within their territorial borders.

… any legal system that imposes limits on private sector data transfers to jurisdictions for the purpose of safeguarding citizens’ data against foreign government intelligence agencies, as was recently accomplished by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Schrems v Facebook Inc, 2015 Case C-362/14, could contribute to violation of Section A of the TPP’s Investment chapter and be subject to sanction and heavy penalties through the investor-state dispute mechanism.

… Article 14.17 prevents governments from requiring the disclosure of source code as a condition of import, distribution, sale or use of software or of products containing software … while the Article excludes disclosure obligations in commercially negotiated contracts, it does not exempt source code disclosure provisions imposed by means of a software license.

… As open source licenses are not ‘commercially negotiated’ but rather imposed on others, there is concern that any attempt to enforce such licenses against third parties by means of the courts would amount to a violation of this Article, opening the country whose court system carried out such enforcement to heavy-handed penalties through the investor-state dispute enforcement mechanisms.

… addressing cybersecurity breaches can require mandating the publication of source code so as to facilitate fixing of security flaws. The TPP’s prohibition on such requirements could undermine security measures of this type."

ISDS primers: https://youtube.com/watch?v=M4-mlGRPmkU & https://youtube.com/watch?v=AABOIcXZZwg & http://isdscorporateattacks.org

We are truly headed for a cyberpunk-style, post-state world. Corporations will succeed states and enforce their own draconian sovereignty. What remains of states will exist only to serve the will of their corporate paymasters.

There are lessons from the defeat of the Comcast/TWC merger, which was also viewed as inevitable, http://www.wetmachine.com/tales-of-the-sausage-factory/comca..., "… while lobbying and popular opinion don’t relieve the DoJ and FCC of the need to have substance, the intense unpopularity of the deal and the unexpected resistance it keeps encountering at the local and state level certainly don’t help … the widespread discontent provides more evidence to the agencies that these companies already have market power, and that the merger will only make things worse … this looks a heck of a lot less like the quixotic campaign and hopeless last stand many people thought it would be a year ago."

TPP opposition has been higher than expected, http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/stopTPP, "… the dozen trade-watching stalwarts at Public Citizen divided into five teams and went after the Brobdingnagians of global corporate power … it's important to spread the story of the progressive coalition's successful confrontation with the Global Goliath. Its methods and achievements give us a new template for organizing (and winning) future populist challenges to the corporate order. And the breadth, depth, and intensity of this effort show what it will take to forge a real populist movement--multifaceted and with the long-term capacity to pursue our country's deep democratic principles. We can get there if we build on what we learn--and keep pushing."

Limits to data transfers can work in several ways. If the EU says it is limiting data transfers to help its citizens, I'll trust that that is how they are using the limitation. On the other hand, if a country like Egypt or Russia wants to limit transfer of data, I will be skeptical about why they want to keep that data in their country. I think I trust most countries about as much as I trust Russia, and would prefer that companies have the option to take data out of such countries.

xpost from the other thread because I'd welcome any insight on this:

What confuses the hell out of me regarding the TPP - and maybe it's just because I'm in the HN/Reddit echo chamber on this - but if the TPP is so damn important to reigning in China in the 21st century or whatever, then why did they load it up with a bunch of unrelated antagonizing bullshit?

It doesn't seem to me that the intellectual property provisions of the agreement are all that important to the overall stated goals of the TPP. Yet they are so fucking regressive and antagonistic that there is some chance (I guess? Again, echo chamber...) that they will sabotage the rest of the agreement. After SOPA, etc., if it were me and I wanted to be sure that the TPP passed in enough Pacific Rim countries to make it effective, I would keep anything remotely like SOPA as far away from my precious treaty as I possibly could.

Instead, the IP portions of the agreement are basically the language that was in SOPA all over again, which pissed a whole lot of people off last time. It's really hard to take seriously the claim that the TPP is so important, when the people drafting it are including language that is pretty much guaranteed to stoke vigorous opposition, for reasons that are mostly orthogonal to their goals.

This is due to the view that "IP industries" are the future of the American economy, and this is how they are going to attempt to protect them.

Lobbying power, poor and simple, which is just a push term for legalised corruption.

This really doesn't seem that bad. It's mainly restricting what governments can do to restrict their people. In other words - keeping trade free. Isn't that kind of a good thing?

- Governments are not allowed to restrict where companies store user data.

- Governments can choose how to deal with spam, they don't have to adopt the US's CAN-SPAM law.

- Governments can't force companies to disclose their source code.

- Copyright term hasn't been extended to life + 120 years as earlier feared. Only to life+70 years which it already was in the USA anyway.

- Governments don't have to impose net neutrality. That's an issue in the US, but not everywhere else. And they still can if their people want. Such restrictions could easily backfire, especially when they have exemptions for a few hand-picked uses like VOIP and telemedicine. So what if somebody invents a new technology that also needs preferential treatment for latency or bandwidth?

- Governments aren't allowed to impose security restrictions on users as a tool to impede free trade. Does anyone really want the government to dictate how they do internet security? Or for foreign companies to be blocked in favor of domestic competitors?

> Copyright term hasn't been extended to life + 120 years as earlier feared. Only to life+70 years which it already was in the USA anyway.

Which should be reduced (even life + 70 is ridiculously long). This agreement makes internal reform much harder, because it solidifies the bad status quo. Same goes for many other similar things.

Agreed, It would take another international effort to reduce copyright term again - and it'll be tough enough to even get one country to consider it themselves

The thing is, almost all laws are mostly good. Controversial stuff can usually only be passed by burying it in something completely non-controversial. It gives everyone who supports it a wide range of CYA, which is a very important thing to have in politics. It also makes it very difficult for opponents to effectively oppose.

In the US, budgets are usually the most popular place to drop in dangerous/controversial amendments since there's usually a timeline to pass them and there are serious consequences for the constituency if that countdown expires, which won't win the incumbent any points back home. Treaties are worse because they're usually much more difficult to alter than your conventional federal law.

A mostly good bill is mostly good, but allowing it to become law is very bad. We must make the bill totally good, meaning that it can't contain any actively harmful or bad elements, no matter how good the rest of it is.

In a democracy, you have to accept that every law will probably be less than your ideal, because some compromise with other people will be necessary, but it must not contain any actively harmful or dangerous elements.

One example of the bad things: ex officio IP enforcement.

Regarding net neutrality, an ISP can remain fully "neutral" while honoring QoS flags.

I don't worry about stuff like this too much, or stuff about the UK wanting to do stupid stuff like ban all encryption. I believe the internet is going to become more private and more anonymous as time goes on. Eventually everyone will be using the equivalent of VPNs on machines/browsers that don't give out any identifying information unless a user extremely explicitly tells it to. Or perhaps something similar to Freenet will become much more popular. We're already seeing hardware (like the iPhone) coming encrypted from the manufacturer with seemingly no way for any government agency to decrypt it forcefully. Ad blockers and tracking blockers are more popular than ever. Firefox just today released an update to help prevent trackers.

It's just a matter of time - ISPs and governments and corporations will lose the ability to track their users outside of their specific platform, and many of the platforms we use today will be replaced with P2P alternatives that make tracking impossible and aren't "owned" by anyone. I am sure the governments of the world will be livid.

It's important to distinguish political rights from mere consumer choices, http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/7/stop-treating-c..., "The consumer-citizen pops up all over the place, like a cardboard stand-in for democratic citizens who have no other political concerns beyond self-interested consumption .. the public is hung out to dry with effectively no defense or recourse since our political rights have evaporated into market choices."

Isn't a big side effect of laws like these that tools such as encryption and P2P can be classified as designed to violate IP, and banned?

Yes, GP's view seems extremely naive. Unless you are using a pirate radio network, your ISP can simply turn off all your encrypted traffic .

Agreed. Thankfully, commerce and many other well-accepted forms of traffic are end-to-end-encrypted by design. Distinguishing between the legitimate forms of encryption and those presumed to be illegitimate will be difficult/impossible. Can you imagine what it might be like to try and add TLS/IPSec to the Internet only just now?

However ISPs can filter endpoints that they believe to be associated with undesirable activity.

your ISP can simply turn off all your encrypted traffic .

And then everyone starts using steganography.

Yeah, I can totally see my mum doing that.

Does she use email today? That was an esoteric practice only twenty years ago. If the need arises, steganography will evolve to become similarly easy to use.

And making traffic that looks like streaming 4k video. Lots of bandwidth for real-time communication!

Does anyone believe this will not become the law?

You can peaceably gather in protest and maybe get a few sniping remarks on the nightly news, you can call, write, knock on your representatives door, you can donate money and time, but none of it will stop this treaty from being passed because those in power wrote it for themselves and will pass it for themselves.

If anything were to stop it it would be the wide disregard and disobedience of the illegitimate laws it supposedly creates.

Whether or not that is true, that is some of the worst sentiment to be spreading. If you feel strongly, call you congressman, organize a group, do something. Posting that no one can do anything doesn't help anyone.

It seems to me like an accurate reflection of reality though. When governments and corporations propose legislation in secret it is never going to be in citizen's best interests. On the national and international scale democracy almost doesn't exist. We are being governed by the rich elite and being able to vote is just a sideshow.

Democracy as it is currently implemented is fundamentally flawed because it puts politicians and political parties in power. I mean, it fundamentally is about giving other's power. That is a freaking crude proxy to furthering citizen's interests. It's a blunt instrument. People in power can be influenced/corrupted/manipulated disproportionately by corporations and others with power. Citizens are disenfranchised and mostly powerless.

IMHO the ultimate expression of democracy would not to vote others into office, but to propose and collectively edit new legislation and vote on that. Skip the politician middlemen, go straight to the issues that matter. I imagine that citizens would be allocated a number of non-transferable expiring vote-credits that they can use to spend on pushing legislation.

In summary: until the very nature of democracy evolves we are destined to inhabit a dystopian world that serves only the interests of the elite.

The basic idea of how we do democracy is more-or-less sound. Democracy is pretty robust to different implementations e.g. federal democracy, parliamentary democracy, etc.

If democracy has an Achilles's heel it is probably concentration of power. Democracy works better when power is diffuse, and you even see this expressed in the American constitution somewhat. However, although the framers of the US constitution implemented diffusion of power pretty well within government itself, they did nothing to secure diffusion of power across society more broadly[1], and as it happens that is kicking the shit out of many Western democracies now as wealth inequality (and imbalance of power, by proxy) approaches levels that have not been seen in many generations.

[1] Possibly they even did this, by restricting the vote to land owners initially (although I don't think that was their motivation to do so). There is no question limited suffrage sucks of course, but I suspect participants in American democracy early on were on a much more level playing field than what we have now. It would have been a good idea to try to preserve that diffusion of power in society somewhat, along the way to universal suffrage. We didn't, and now may be paying the price.

"The basic idea of how we do democracy is more-or-less sound."

Sorry to tell you but... human beings are bad at reasoning:

Science on reasoning:


On democracy


That book seems to be exploring in part the very concept I outlined in my post: that concentrated wealth will subvert a democracy.

Except its much worse... it has always been so, you're just becoming aware of it.

You really need to bone up on your history...


"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil intersts in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested."[p. 10]

"War is a racket. ...It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." [p. 23] "The general public shoulders the bill [for war]. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations." [p. 24]

General Butler is especially trenchant when he looks at post-war casualties. He writes with great emotion about the thousands of tramautized soldiers, many of who lose their minds and are penned like animals until they die, and he notes that in his time, returning veterans are three times more likely to die prematurely than those who stayed home.


It seems to me like an accurate reflection of reality though.

The treaty hasn't passed yet; that reality doesn't exist. We don't yet know what the future will produce and who will have what effects on how it turns out. At any rate, pessimism is probably not the most helpful contribution to the process.

Yes, powerlessness is self-fulfilling. If we believe we can effect decentralized change, we will succeed at some scale, at least within our immediate social circles. History is full of stories with small beginnings, outside of institutions that were subject to regulatory capture. At a minimum, we can create new business models that have not yet been forbidden, and undermine the economics of the desperate companies that have resorted to shameless manipulation of law and enforcement.

> powerlessness is self-fulfilling

I remember Scott Alexander wrote a piece exploring similar concepts:


"When I was younger, I always imagined dictatorships as surviving whenever the dictator had a majority of power in the country. If the percentage of people x weapons controlled by the dictator's supporters was greater than the percentage of people x weapons controlled the dictator's opponents, the dictator won; once the rebels got more power, the dictator got overthrown.

That was, of course, wildly simplistic. Rebellion is first and foremost a coordination problem. (...)

The real-world upshot of this problem seems to be that even when everyone knows a dictator is unpopular, people won't protest unless they think everyone else will protest. This ends up getting bogged down in self-reference: lots of people will protest if and only if they think lots of people will protest."

> Does anyone believe this will not become the law?

If enough will protest - it won't. ACTA failed in Europe.

> disobedience of the illegitimate laws it supposedly creates

This is the key problem. Lawrence Lessig has been making a good case recently that the root problem is institutional corruption, but I think that was the problem we had in the past. The time to address corruption was several decades ago. Unfortunately, most people we either scared by the changes that technology was bringing to society or blinded by greed and shared hallucinations about prosperity.

Unfortunately, most people were happy to assist this corruption through indifference. Lt. Gen. David Morrison described this problem very succinctly in his calls[1] for people to report harassment whenever they see it:

    The standard you walk past,
    is the standard you accept.
So now, after decades of walking past corruption I believe we're past the problem of corruption. We now live with politicians are actively trying to undermine the legitimate operation of government. We now live with the expectation of revolving door corruption. Wort of all, we now live with the results of putting politicians in a Skinner Box that conditions them to believe they are above the law. Operant conditioning works, and now we are seeing the results walking past decades of problems.

What we're seeing with the TPP (and may other situations in modern society) is the breakdown of the Rule Of Law. Why the hell should anybody else respect the law, when it clearly doesn't apply to entire classes of criminals? Why should we care about laws that are clearly designed to make these problems even worse for the benefit of the few? Well, most people eventually realize they are being taken advantage of (even f it takes a few decades), and we've already had a few previews of what happens when people no longer respect the law in places like Baltimore and Ferguson. It's small praise, but I suspect that even a small portion of the worrying aspects of the TPP end up happening, it will actually impact a lot of people who are already living on the edge. Rebellion happens when people start to go hungry.

We could walk back from this line, but that would require too many people to admit to their own. Why would the? We've been conditioning them to believe the are untouchable and right. The best description I've ever seen of this mindset is this interview[2] with a "senior adviser to Bush":

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community,"
    which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious
    study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment
    principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works
    anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own
    reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll
    act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how
    things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left
    to just study what we do."
Does this sound like someone who will walk back from their mistakes for the greater good? No, that's the voice of a fanatic who knows he can never be wrong.

As Lawence Wilkerson - former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell - said about our current situation in his recent lecture[3] on the fall of the American Empire:

    This is what empires do. This is what they do...
    particularly when they are getting ready to *collapse*.
Meanwhile, as these problems get worse and worse, there is a growing risk of someone deciding the Guillotine is a cheaper and easier solution.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaqpoeVgr8U

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/faith-certainty-a...

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckjY-FW7-dc

This is why we need Bernie Sanders as our next president. His record shows he will stand up against institutional corruption and any action he takes towards this end, big or small, will bring more legitimacy back to our government.

but if everyone believes it is wrong and don't follow it (or part of it), they can't jail/fine everybody...

try to persuade everyone that it isn't wrong and don't follow it :)

We're a small subset of the population. Remember, people believe that the govt snooping around isn't a big deal because they have nothing to hide

If it does become law, then it'll be because that's what people want, or because people don't care. If you care strongly enough to want to influence others with money, then you're effectively wanting to corrupt the system.

At the end of the day, it's your friends, family and neighbors who will be to blame. They're the ones who'll keep voting for the person/party that puts these rules into law. Those are the people you should be annoyed at. They're making the decisions with their votes.

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