Just a month ago, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed. The TPP is the result of a half decade of negotiations geared toward unifying 40% of the economies in the world, creating a group that can conduct business more efficiently. However, the TPP includes some troubling changes to the use of internet.
One of the most obvious changes to take place is the penalty for whistle blowing. Under the TPP, computers cannot be used to report corporate wrongdoing. How idiotic is that? So, if you find out your boss is guilty of insider trading, and email the authorities, YOU could be the one in jail. The wording of this part of the law is intentionally vague, so any applications will be left to judges. The end result will be such retribution to would-be whistle blowers that they will be even less likely to take the chance. In addition, journalists they communicate with will be in even worse trouble, with no protection.
With all of the pornography, violence and even terrorism on the internet, it’s rather ironic that content providers must remove content that receives just one complaint. This is already being enforced in the US. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other providers are held liable if they do not remove objectionable material. What constitutes “objectionable” is open to interpretation, leaving many businesses shut down by their competitors.
When a single complaint can shut down a Facebook page until review and arbitration are completed, it leaves not only social media sites, new social media sites, and new businesses in general in a difficult situation. They usually do not have the resources to deal with this volume of persecution.
In general, the TPP uses current US standards to control copyright laws. The UK will now have to honor the laws that prohibit breaking through security measures on intellectual property for legal purposes. In addition, copyrights now extend for the lifetime of the person who created the content plus 70 years, rather than the 50 years previously used in the UK.
In addition to longer copyrights, the judgments concerning whether or not copyright infringement has occurred is now left up to private enforcement agencies. This seems to be a perfect opportunity for special interests to control the industry.
Governments can seize hardware and software on just the accusation of copyright infringement, and service providers are now required to police the activity on their sites, taking down user-generated content. This means that your own sites and businesses will be stalked to make sure you are doing what is considered to be legal at the time.
In addition, digital locks cannot be broken. These are in place to allow the company to continue controlling a device they have manufactured, even after you have bought it. This prohibits the use of hardware and software for accessibility purposes for the disabled.
The full impact of the TPP has yet to be felt. It is only these areas that have been enforced to date. The general public has not seen the ruling.