A batch of cables released by WikiLeaks has shown new insights into the motivation for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently under discussion.
State department cables from June 2006 reveal that Stanford McCoy, chief negotiator for intellectual property enforcement for the US Trade Representative, met Japanese officials to discuss the treaty, and stressed that it was designed to be worked out by individual nations rather than international bodies.
"McCoy stressed that this should be a freestanding agreement, not related to any international grouping such as the G8 or OECD, which might make it more difficult to construct a high-standards agreement," the cable reads.
Rather than deal directly with the EU, the US and Japan agreed to contact individual countries to gather consensus and support, and the UK, France and Germany were among the first to be approached.
The Japanese government expressed strong support for ACTA, since Japan and the US are concerned about widespread intellectual property theft by China.
Negotiations over the ACTA treaty came to light only after WikiLeaks published leaked minutes, leading to problems with negotiations, the cables reveal.
The WikiLe aks cables show that the news of the leak caused concern among negotiators, and that the Swedish government was forced to issue a statement saying that no new laws will be enacted as a result of the treaty.
Nevertheless, Swedish ISPs started destroying user data more regularly as a result, which Swedish police complained was making solving other crimes harder.
"The history of ACTA as exposed by these US diplomatic cables shows how an opaque and illegitimate process has led to ill-founded and unbalanced repressive provisions," Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, told V3.co.uk.
"As democratic representatives start debating the ratification of ACTA, they should reject ACTA so as to protect democratic values and the rule of law."
Another WikiLeaks cable details Mexico's involvement in ACTA as an enthusiastic participant. Officials visited the US and attended sponsored trademark training courses, and the cable states that the US hoped Mexico would act as a counter to intellectual property violations in Brazil.
Iain Thomson is the US editor of V3.co.uk based in San Francisco. Iain has been a part of the V3.co.uk team since 2002 and was previously technical editor of PC Magazine, reviews editor of PC Advisor and editor of Aviation Informatics. He also appears as an occasional commentator on BBC television and radio, ITV and Bloomberg.