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ACTA will impose stronger content control - AD

Alternattiva Demokratika has rebutted a statement by the Finance Minister that ACTA will not censor websites and appealed for a private member's bill on the issue.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was created with the aim of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement, yet will deal with tools targeting internet distribution and information technology, meaning people could be prosecuted for merely sharing a link to a newspaper article or posting a video on YouTube.

ACTA encourages its signatory states to step up cooperation with private actors, like internet providers, for intellectual property enforcement in the absence of any minimum standards for legal procedures. This opens the door to undermining the basic rights of individuals with no protection for those affected, AD said.

AD's IT spokesman Henrik Piski said: "ACTA does not differentiate between individuals or large scale infringements as wrongly stated in the media. It will indeed impose on ISPs stronger content control and eventually lead to prosecution of individuals. This is already happening in France with the introduction of Hadopi law last year.

"It is absolutely surprising that the government had never engaged any public discussion and consultation about its intention of the signing of the agreement. It clearly indicates that the government is detached of the Internet reality and freedom of expression of its constituents."

In the meantime, AD announced its participation in the anti-ACTA protest which will be held in the coming days. AD invited members of parliament to stand up and be counted on the issue by presenting a private member's bill against ACTA, and appealed to MEPs to reject ACTA in the upcoming vote in June. AD confirmed its support of the Malta Anti-ACTA Group.

AD chairman Michael Briguglio said ACTA threatens to have perverse impacts such as infringement of the privacy of individuals and making generic drugs less accessible, all in the name of corporate greed.

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