Sutton: "Stopping TPP is about stopping what has, up until this point, seemed like an endless cycle of corporate-dominated back-room policy laundering. We've so far been successful in slowing down the progress of TPP, but when the ultimate showdown arrives, we'll all need to be ready to fight."
A draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership's (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter from May 2014leaked this past fall, confirming what previous leaks had suggested: this so-called trade agreement would bring copyright enforcement provisions that threaten users' right to free expression, privacy, and unfettered access to knowledge online.
This leaked text also revealed new terms on the misuse of trade secrets. These are dangerously vague and could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through an allegedly confidential "computer system." This language could have alarming consequences if it obligates nations to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistleblowers. It's no wonder TPP negotiations continued to be as secretive as ever this year—policymakers are taking advantage of back-room policymaking to criminalize the very people who help public interest groups like EFF understand what's contained in these agreements.
2014 was a major year in our fight against TPP, but we're expecting it will all come to a head in the new year. Public statements from the White House and Republican lawmakers have reiterated their resolve to introduce and pass new fast track legislation in the coming months. At the same time, the US Trade Representative has hinted that it plans to finalize the TPP in 2015.