An organization is calling on the Internet community to help pledge money in a pool. The reason? They are effectively placing a bounty on the leaking of the full text of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). The site alleges that, so far, they have raised over $17,000 in pledges.
Many human rights, environmentalists, digital rights and people in general have been wanting to see the text that only negotiators, lobbyists and corporations have been able to see and direct input on. The leaks so far have revealed some pretty horrifying stuff. There has been the leaking of the intellectual property chapter which we analysed ourselves and found provisions that would create a three strikes regime as well as bring in SOPA-style censorship. Another leak was investment chapter which apparently contained provisions that would allow a corporation to sue a local government for forcing it to abide by local regulations (i.e. environmental regulations, regulations on cigarette packaging, banking regulations, etc.) through an international tribunal. A third leak occurred after US negotiators said that they were working in consumer protections. The leak revealed that the consumer protections are actually far more strict than what currently exists today in many countries around the world including the US.
Of course, these are just leaks of small chunks of the trade agreement. An organization is now trying to do some crowdsourcing of funds so that if Wikileaks leaked the text of the TPP, the organization would be paid out so that the leaker would remain anonymous. The website is located on Democracy Interaction and says the following:
At this very moment, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP)–a trade agreement that could affect the health and welfare of billions of people worldwide–is being negotiated behind closed doors. While 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the text, the press, the public, and even members of the US Congress are being kept in the dark.
But we don’t have to stand meekly by as corporate cronies decide our futures. Concerned citizens from around the world are pooling together their resources as a reward to WikiLeaks if it makes the negotiating text of the TPP public. Our pledge, as individuals, is to donate this money to WikiLeaks should it leak the document we seek.
As WikiLeaks likes to say, information wants to be free. The negotiating text for the TPP wants to be free. Someone just needs to release it.
The site also features an FAQ on things like why the TPP is so bad, and how the pledge system works.
Personally, until today, I’ve never heard of them before. Of course, they are also based in the US and since I don’t live in the US, I don’t necessarily know as much about the inner workings of the US quite like an American citizen living in the US would. While I don’t know the organization myself, I do find the concept behind it interesting. Whether or not we’ll actually see the text of the TPP remains to be seen. The leaking of such text is an extremely difficult feat to accomplish without getting caught. Still, I think this effort could be a sign of just how badly some people want to see transparency on the TPP in general.