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Poland: Government Will Sign ACTA Despite Massive Protest

“The Acta agreement in no way changes Polish laws or the rights of internet users and internet usage” – despite a massive Internet protest and controversies around the secret manner of negotiations, the Polish Minister of Administration and Digitisation, Michal Boni, admitted after a meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk that the government would sign the anti-piracy agreement ACTA on January 26, as planned.

In an interview with a radio station, Boni said [pl] that it was impossible not to sign the agreement, because it was too late: Poland joined the negotiation process in 2008 and all the other European countries have already signed it. He added that Poland “should attach a clause to the treaty that would show how we interpret these articles”.

Boni had promised [pl] broad public consultations during the European ratification process. Several Polish NGOshave expressed [pl] their disappointment with the government's stance on ACTA and appealed to change the decision.

Since January 21, online hackers calling themselves Anonymous have been attacking and shuting down government websites almost constantly, in a chaotic protest against the plans to sign the international treaty on Thursday.

User @Anonymouswiki owns up to the web attacks on the websites of the prime minister, the parliament and other government entities. Screenshot: Twitter @Anonymouswiki

User @Anonymouswiki owns up to the web attacks on the websites of the prime minister, the parliament and other government entities. Screenshot: Twitter @Anonymouswiki

Although the hackers still enjoy strong support among netizens, and the attacks were one of the reasons the mainstream media picked up the topic of ACTA, the group also faces criticism from key Polish tech-bloggers.

Maciej Gajewski from Spidersweb calls them [pl] “crying kids worried for their mp3″ and regrets that they became the face of the protest giving the government officials an argument against the movement:

Critics, mistrust and suspicion is one thing, but panic, mumbling and spreading disinformation is another thing. Looking at some finds on the biggest Polish social news platforms, looking at the comments of some readers, I get the impression that the lion's share of the protesters have no idea what ACTA is about. They've made up fantastic stories and are passing them on. The mass is getting crazy “Impale PM”, “Let's burn the Minister on the stake!”, “They will all lock us down in prisons!”. And then also Anonymous, who just make the whole protest look ridiculous in the eyes of mature older voters.

900+ Polish websites go dark on January 24

"This is what the Internet might look like very soon. NO to ACTA" - over 900 Polish websites decided to go dark on January 24 in protest against the treaty. Screenshot: http://spidersweb.pl

"This is what the Internet might look like very soon. NO to ACTA" – over 900 Polish websites decided to go dark on January 24 in protest against the treaty. Screenshot: http://spidersweb.pl

As opposed to the web attacks on government websites, Antyweb called [pl] on his blog on January 23 for a protest “in a cultured way, namely, a blackout” and provided a script and an instruction on how to do it. In response, more than 900 websites decided to “go dark” and display an anti-ACTA message.

Allegro, the Polish equivalent of Ebay, placed an “anti-ACTA” banner next to the company's logo. The list of the websites taking part in the protest is available here.

The opposition party, the Democratic Left Alliance, also said the government should not sign the agreement and blacked out its website [pl] in solidarity.

While the global media, with a few exceptions, keep silent about the Polish protest, national information services race to publish dozens of opinions, analyses and the latest reports on the ACTA case. In the meantime, the protest movement seems to be getting bigger and bigger: the anti-ACTA protest event on Facebook Nie dla ACTA has reached over 400,000 fans.

A real-life protest in Warsaw gathered [pl] over 1,000 people on Tuesday, and another one is being planned for Wednesday, January 25.

"Screw corporations, long live the people": many Polish protesters went on the streets on January 24. Photo by Alexey Sidorenko, used with permission.

"Screw corporations, long live the people": many Polish protesters went on the streets on January 24. Photo by Alexey Sidorenko, used with permission.

Vagla, a popular Polish digital rights blogger, shared this hope [pl] on Twitter on January 24:

I guess that slowly people start to understand that this is not a discussion about “piracy” and “thieves” but about the direction in which our civilisation is heading.

Update:

Later on January 24, PM Tusk confirmed officially [pl] at a press conference that Poland will sign ACTA on January 26. At the same time, he stressed that the government will not give in to blackmail, meaning the earlier web attacks. Poland strives for Internet freedom, said Tusk.

  • http://crackingcookies.pl Julian Pszczołowski

    There should be “spidersweb.pl” instead of “spiderweb.pl”. ;)

  • Vehrmt

    The thing that people forget and governments try to ignore is that noone is truly bound to anyone else’s laws. The government is elected by the people that they might choose their laws for them, but laws are not permanent – not if they incur the wrath of the people.

    As someone once said, it is the government that should fear its people, not the other way round.
    If people will protest these laws with enough conviction, the so-called finality of the laws will become irrelevant. They will go down.

  • Gustavo

    Hello, I’m Brazilian, and I admire the actions of the Poles, even if it has not solved the problem, if everyone did that, we would have our goal!

  • http://cina.exil.sk Tibor Blazko

    all the other European countries have already signed it? greetings from Slovakia

  • Pingback: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement replacing SOPA and PIPA | LOVE FREEDOM TRUTH

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