Anonymous masks

The European air is rife with the stench of death, which means two things: first, that the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is unlikely to gain approval from the 27 members of the European Parliament. And second, the members of Anonymous have further justification for wearing those masks with the iconic smirk from V for Vendetta .

For those who aren’t familiar with the trade agreement, ACTA is an international treaty aimed at giving countries the ability to stop copyright infringement and other forms of intellectual property theft — a standard framework so that all countries around the world can charge and prosecute digital piracy. However, many Europeans (as well as Americans to a lesser extent) are against the trade agreement because it doesn’t directly address or stop piracy in a meaningful way. That’s on top of the fact that most government officials signed (or attempted to) the agreement in secrecy, without input from public discourse.

The EU first began investigating whether ACTA was legal back in February. Earlier this week, the trade agreement’s rapporteur (a.k.a. person in charge of investigating and assessing the agreement) MEP David Martin formally recommended that the European Union reject ACTA.

Despite over 20 EU states already signing the treaty, EU parliament members must vote to ratify it before it can move forward. If Martin’s assessment is accepted, it’s unlikely that ACTA will pass.

“The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties,” wrote Martin in the assessment (PDF). “Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens’ rights in the future under ACTA.”

Anonymous masks photo via Rob Kints /; via ZDnet