At the same time the Obama administration may be trying to resurrect the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the White House is now pushing another opaque acronym – TPP – that watchdog groups say represents a similar threat to Internet freedom.
TPP stands for the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a proposal that could, among other things, bake SOPA-like provisions into an international trade treaty. As with so many other trade pacts before it, details of TPP has been kept completely secret. Indeed, before a draft was Wikileaked into the public spotlight, members of President Obama’s own party in Congress had to resort to publicly demanding access to the proposal they could have to vote on.
“Could,” though, is the operative word, as the White House has just launched an attempt to enact a so-called “fast track” bill that would give the president unilateral power to enact the TPP and other lobbyist-written trade pacts without significant congressional input. The Obama administration is trying to orchestrate this end run around the legislative branch precisely because as more and more questions are raised about the proposed deal, members of Obama’s own party are threatening to scuttle it in the Congress.
As alluded to, one key set of questions that is raising the most concerns revolves around how the intellectual property provisions in the pact could curtail online communications. Those concerns are now coming to the forefront as the Electronic Frontier Foundation is using the anniversary of the 2012 SOPA protests to launched what it is calling Copyright Week. In that effort, the watchdog group is labeling the TPP the “biggest threat to the Internet you’ve never heard of.”
Watch EFF’s video for a short explanation of exactly what that threat is all about: