The bill despised by internet citizens around the globe, ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), has reared its ugly head once more, getting passed in Japan after a government vote this week. It was scheduled to be voted on early in the week, but due to delays it was held on Thursday, September 6th, reportedly getting approved in the wee hours of the night, with the news greeting Japanese netizens and members of activist group Anonymous the next morning.
The ACTA bill was first introduced to Japan last October, after it was signed by other countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, and Morocco. The website Japanese Internet Watch has said that the treaty designed to stop internet piracy and protect media copyright holders was approved in session of the House of Representatives (Lower House). A rough translation says that the vote took place very quickly, and the ACTA bill may have been passed in as little as four minutes. ACTA, like its predecessor SOPA, is decried by internet users around the world because of its near elimination of privacy and freedom of information for users, handing of all control to large corporations, and the fact that it does very little to address the problem of real piracy.
A member of the Japanese Pirate Party posted to Twitter a comment that the bill had been ratified, and that democracy is in a crisis, haunted by the specter of bureaucrat autocracy. The Why We Protest website already has a post calling for internet proponents to organize a protest against ACTA. The Japanese members of Anonymous, a group mostly known for its hacking as a form of protest, has confirmed that it will be getting involved in a march on Sunday, September 9th through the streets of Tokyo.
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