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250+ tech firms take stand against Obama’s TPP

Just a few years ago the internet and the world outside that took a stand against restrictive bills like SOPA, ACTA and PIPA, which would have caused immeasurable harm to the internet as we know it. Today it’s being threatened by a whole new kind of legislation, the kind that sneaks through without public oversight because it’s officially a trade agreement. TTP and TTIP, are two proposed partnerships that would see countries around the world held at the mercy of corporations and copyright law and to show their distrust of such policies, over 250 companies have signed a letter attacking them and their vague language.

While those pushing for TPP’s (and TTIP) to be signed into law suggest that it would aid trade between the US and eastern nations, critics claim it could make medicines immeasurably more expensive, allow corporations to sue governments for the loss of future profits and remove protections from whistleblowers, effectively making it illegal to reveal corporate malpractice.

The problem, as always seems to be the case with bills that threaten human rights and the public’s best interests, is that the language is broad and vague, meaning its application can be similarly so. It’s this, among with many other more specific complains that has seen the hundreds of signatories register their disliking of the trade partnership.

tpp2
These guys however, think it’s an awesome idea

Others, like Guardian technology writer Cory Doctorow highlighted that the use of a trade partnership was to avoid public scrutiny and that that alone should set alarm bells ringing:

“The fact that they went to extreme, unprecedented measures to stop anyone from finding out what was going on – even going so far as to threaten Congress with jail if they spoke about it – tells you that this is something being done *to* Americans, not *for* Americans,” he said (via The Guardian).

Noticeable companies missing from the signatories include big firms like Apple, Facebook and Google, though the former of the three sits on president Obama’s trade advisory committee, so presumably had some insight into this trade agreement before the rest of us.

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KitGuru Says: The worst aspect of this trade pact is that it allow companies to sue for lost future profits, which means if legislation is put in place that prevents a company selling something or starting an industry (say strip mining a rainforest) the government could be sued by that corporation. It’s already happened in places like El Salvador.

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