A leading European Union official investigating the Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Agreement (ACTA) has launched a scathing attack on the treaty and quit his position in protest over the shadowy tactics that led to its creation.
Kader Arif, appointed by the Commission to investigate the document as its official rapporteur, said in a blog post in French, translated by La Quadrature Du Net, that he had several major concerns with the document.
"I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement," he said.
"[There was] no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly," he said.
He also complained of the way in which the public were denied a chance to understand what the document meant and how it could affect their lives.
"I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands."
He also listed numerous issues that the document will create and complained that even the European Parliament was being denied from discussing the document.
"Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications," he added.
"This agreement might have major consequences on citizens' lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter."
As such he announced his resignation in order to draw more public attention to the issue, calling it a "masquerade".
The timing of his complaint comes the day after the UK was among 22 nations that formally signed the ACTA agreement in Japan, following the US, Australia and Japan into the accord.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.