Trade Treaty Draws Ire of Digital Rights Advocates

Posted: 15th November 2013
Trade Treaty Draws Ire of Digital Rights Advocates

According to Wikileaks, a proposed trade agreement between 12 countries would infringe upon internet freedom in ways similar to the stalled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Recalling the fierce response to SOPA from internet freedom advocates and hacktivists, who downed the websites of numerous pro-SOPA organizations, we’ll be closely watching upcoming events related to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) Treaty.

The backlash from digital rights advocates isn’t exclusive to the United States, which is another angle that makes the controversial contents of this trade agreement unique. The proposed TTP agreement includes 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

Just earlier this month, we saw media organizations and government websites in Singapore targeted by a hacker operating under the name “The Messiah.” Self-affiliating with the Anonymous collective, the attacks were carried out as protest over regulations on website registration and content rights enacted in late May. Over the course of 10 days, 20+ sites were knocked offline or otherwise compromised prior to the arrest made by Malaysian police of six individuals including The Messiah, now known to be 35-year-old James Raj Arokiasamy.

Below you’ll see the series of attacks against targets in Singapore during late October and early November.

Later this month, the TTP treaty representatives will be meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah from November 19-24 and the Obama administration reportedly hopes to formalize the agreement before the end of the year. Keep an eye on conversations in the information security and hacktivist communities as discussions move forward; if past attempts at internet regulations are any indication, we’re likely to see another firefight.