TISA and Tech’s Double Standards On Secret Government Internet Deals

The stash of previously-secret correspondence about the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) that EFF obtained and published this week speaks volumes about the extent to which technology companies such as IBM and Google, and trade lobby groups such as the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Internet Digital Economy Alliance (IDEA), have bought into the dangerous idea that trade agreements should be used to govern the Internet.

In the 124 pages of documents that we obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), industry groups assert that trade agreements can “maximise the economic potential of data in the networked economy and support the Internet as the world’s trading platform”, and “significantly boost the growth prospects for this vital sector of the global economy.” Sadly missing, however, are demands for improved transparency or for the exclusion of Internet-related issues that have little to do with “trade” such as net neutrality and personal data protection.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by the complicity of some tech companies in the ongoing mission-creep of trade negotiations, given their earlier support for Fast Track Authority, which cleared the way not only for TISA but also for other agreements that threaten user rights, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

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