Justin Trudeau is reportedly actively lobbying the European Union and its members to sign on to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). While Canadian media simply reports it as the Canadian Prime minister promoting trade, Freezenet knows that CETA contains provisions in it that indoctrinates Internet censorship and even the failed three strikes law that has plagued other countries in the past.
The TPP isn’t the only “trade” agreement that Trudeau has effectively endorsed. Canada’s prime minister has his eye on another agreement and he is far less ambiguous on his position.
On the surface, the report seems rather harmless. According to the CBC, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is lobbying Europe to push CETA – a trade deal that it says has been in trouble for some time:
With a key ratification vote expected late this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Friday that he’s meeting with the head of the European Parliament tomorrow to discuss the Canada-EU trade agreement.
“I’ve had many conversations with European leaders on the importance of signing and ratifying CETA [the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement],” Trudeau said in response to a question from CBC News.
“This is an important opportunity both for Canada and Europe and I’m looking forward to getting it signed,” the prime minister said.
While the report does touch on some of the opposition to the trade deal, noting ISDS provisions specifically, the technological provisions also represent a major problem with the trade deal. Last September, we were able to obtain a draft of the agreement and analyze the provisions buried within. The results at the time were quite startling.
One of the set of provisions involved site blocking. Under the guise of copyright enforcement, organizations would have the ability to force ISPs to block any website they deem undesirable. Other countries, after significant arm-twisting and intense lobbying from major corporations, experimented with internet censorship in the past. These countries included Australia, Sweden, and most famously, China. The results were that censoring the Internet was a complete failure. Proxies were set up (i.e. Pirate Party of Sweden). Firewalls were hacked (i.e. Porn cracker case in Australia). Rotating website mirror’s were developed (The Pirate Bay). VPN service usage soared as users flocked to any service that would give them back a free and open Internet. The countries censors fought back with even more censorship, the blocking of such services, and even going to the extreme of developing what was known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). That only resulted in an encryption arms race where developers found ways of bi-passing such efforts through protocol obfuscation (i.e. BitTorrent and ED2K clients), end-to-end encryption, constantly changing IP addresses (i.e. the countless VPN services that do this already), and, of course, the increased reliability of the TOR network. To add insult to injury, many non-infringing sites were blocked in the process including political opposition, businesses, and personal websites. While some countries backed off such efforts, the damage was already done as encryption became more commonplace and spy agencies found it increasingly difficult to track terrorist activities. While it seemed like the world learned a lesson at the time, it looks like Trudeau, possibly acting for the multi-national corporations, has decided to zealously repeat these mistakes of the late 90s and 2000’s even though such efforts, to date, never ended well.
If that weren’t enough, a three strikes provision is also embedded into the agreement. Again, after intense lobbying, some countries experimented with such a policy. Perhaps the most famous example was HADOPI in France. Despite the howls of protests, the government simply moved ahead with the dangerous law anyway. What resulted was a complete mess which included pictures of people holding strike notices over infringing activity they never could have done. False notices were spread everywhere. Many pirates began using more sophisticated means of obtaining material (which actually could be as simple as using one-click hosting companies). While numbers would have been hard to track, putting any major dent in the long term of file-sharing was something HADOPI never did. Instead, the program cost millions of euros to run and convictions were few and far between. The end result was that HADOPI became a symbol of government waste and it was listed as one of the many reasons why then president Nicolas Sarkozy got voted out of office.
New Zealand also experimented with the law. Over there, it was called the “Skynet” law. The law ended up being nothing but trouble from the beginning to the very end. People who were not even in the country when accused infringing activities took place received notices. Still, the government marched ahead anyway and allowed organizations like RIANZ to continue issuing notices. After a while, it became obvious that the notices were not a deterrent. RIANZ attempted to extract millions out of the mess, but the courts pushed back. The end result was that the law and the tribunal began collecting dust.
South Korea also experimented with such a law. The end result was pretty much predictable: it didn’t deter file-sharers and was ultimately a complete failure.
The US was another country that got a slight modification to the law – known as the 6 strike rule. Again, false notices were sent out to people and it really never made a dent in file-sharing. The bottom like was that everywhere the law was tested, it ended in failure. The question is, why is Trudeau lobbying the European Union to implement such laws as part of this trade deal when it is well known that this is a failed policy?
In any event, it seems that Trudeau is proving to be more and more like his predecessor as far as these trade deals are concerned. Even now, the Conservative party is pushing for these trade deals and even going as far as to criticize the government for not bending to the corporations will fast enough in parliament. It would seem that if you are passionate about copyright, Internet freedom, and privacy laws in Canada, nothing has changed with the Liberal party and Canadians may very well be headed for some very familiar battles as the Liberal policy gradually steers towards fighting Canadians over these issues.