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EU privacy body slams ACTA as 'unacceptable'

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The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has issued its findings on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the results aren't good.

The review of the treaty found that the text as it stands poses and "unacceptable" risk to the rights of EU citizens and requires highly intrusive monitoring of internet user's habits for the sake of protecting intellectual property.

"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," said Giovanni Buttarelli, assistant EDPS, in a statement.

Of particular concern is that ISPs would have to process personal data in a way that goes beyond what is allowed under EU law and that the monitoring ACT would require is disproportionate to the value of intellectual property at stake. ACTA also doesn’t have sufficient safeguards, such as judicial oversight or the presumption of innocence.

The ruling is a further chilling effect on the treaty and will negatively impact its chances of passing a vote in the European Parliament scheduled for June. The president of the European parliament has already said that ACTA is unacceptable in its current form.

The vote could be the death-knell for ACTA. The treaty has been negotiated in secret for nearly five years and was ratified by many countries, including the UK. But after a series of protests across Europe several countries, including Germany and Poland, have refused to ratify ACTA until the European Parliament has voted on the topic. ®

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