Today, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted Opinion on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the long known controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It underlines that many of the measures to strengthen IP enforcement online could involve the large scale monitoring of users’ behaviour and of their electronic communications. These measures are highly intrusive to the private sphere of individuals, and should only be implemented if they are necessary and proportionate to the aim of enforcing IP rights.
Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant EDPS, states: “While more international cooperation is needed for the enforcement of IP rights, the means envisaged must not come at the expense of the fundamental rights of individuals. A right balance between the fight against IP infringements and the rights to privacy and data protection must be respected. It appears that ACTA has not been fully successful in this respect.”
The European Commission earlier announced that its plans to refer the controversial ACTA treaty to the European Court of Justice in order to examine whether it violates the fundamental rights – counterfeiting, copyright and Internet freedom, of Europeans or not. The ACTA agreement was signed by the European Union and 22 member nations at the end of January in an event in Japan, excluding Germany, which still holds off signing ACTA until EU parliamentary decision will take place. ACTA have been compared to SOPA; with many worried that it will stifle internet freedom in an attempt to stop copyright infringement and in somehow will result in more dangerous than the previous US SOPA bill.