A global debate over freedom of speech, Internet censorship and online-piracy erupted today as major rifts in Europe were exposed by two important announcements.
In the UK major tech companies, including American firms Facebook and Google, publicly denounced the British online-piracy bill that is working its way through parliament. Calling the bill a threat to “freedom of speech and the open Internet” in a letter published in the Financial Times this morning.
In the E.U. the European Parliament passed a controversial vote against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); an agreement Euractive has reported as paving “the way for network providers to introduce ‘US-style draconian’ ways to penalize piracy.” In direct defiance of American negotiators, the Parliament rejected the U.S. “three-strikes” policy in a press release this morning, pitting the E.U. against the U.S. in the plurilateral trade talks that have dragged on for two years already.
With the UK heading towards an internet crackdown, Europe pushing for deregulation, and the U.S. officially pushing an anti-piracy policy, even while American companies lobby in the opposite direction, the global debate over the policing of the Internet, the protection of freedom of speech and the sovereignty of countries in cyberspace seems to have taken a dramatic turn.