The European data protection supervisor (EDPS) has added his weight to those opposed to the contentious Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) proposals, warning that it may infringe on individuals' fundamental human rights.
The EDPS said a balance needed to be struck between the rights of copyright holders and individuals, but warned that ACTA failed to protect individuals.
“A right balance between the fight against IP infringements and the rights to privacy and data protection must be respected," said Giovanni Buttarelli, assistant EDPS.
“It appears that ACTA has not been fully successful in this respect.”
ACTA was particularly troublesome because it called for measures that would allow the indiscriminate or widespread use of internet monitoring, the EDPS stated.
Furthermore, many of the measure would require internet service providers to process personal data in ways to a greater extent than they are able to legally do under European law, the EDPS added.
Finally, ACTA was slammed for its lack of safeguards, such as effective judicial protection and the presumption of innocence.
Opponents of ACTA should use this decision to persuade their MEPs to reject ACTA, said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of the privacy group La Quadrature du Net.
“Whereas the Commission and pro-ACTA members of the EU Parliament keep pretending that ACTA respects EU law and is harmless to fundamental rights, here comes yet another independent analysis stressing on the contrary that ACTA could lead to general monitoring and filtering of online communications,” he added.
Last month, the European Parliament's international trade committee voted not to refer the ACTA proposals to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
As a result, the ECJ is expected to give its verdict on the proposals this summer.
Earlier, the European Commission had asked the ECJ to review whether the treaty was compatible with European law, but had the Parliament made its own referral, that ruling would have been delayed.
The treaty was originally drawn up a series of secretive meetings, in an effort to promote wider international co-operation against copyright abuses.
But its critics have long argued that ACTA gives too many rights to the entertainment industry at the expense of the rights of internet users.