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Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise…

Once upon a time there was the free internet…you woke up in the morning, pour a cup of coffee, open your laptop and you had the world at your feet. You found out in 30 seconds what had happened in the world, checked out the latest gossip, wrote your emails…  Maybe you downloaded a TV series for the evening, even if you knew it was bad. Then came the ACTA Era and things changed. You stil wake up and drink your coffee but when you come to doing anything on the internet you think twice and open an old-fashion newspaper. For those who are yet in the dark about the subject, ACTA is  like the Area 51 of legislation: everybody talks about it, we all know it exists but for a very long time nobody saw it. And last week our Government signed it. The treaty aims to reduce piracy and counterfeiting on the world wide web but the draconic measure imposed led to a strong opposition from the civil society everywhere… everywhere but Romania. There are voices that say the treaty is a violation of human rights as it annuls user anonimity and the freedom of speech. It entitles a continous surveillance of internet activity, permits searches on your computer without real clues of illegal activity and may lead to internet cutoff. It also sees the generic products, esspecially drugs, as counterfeiting goods so … be aware of your ibuprofen online search. I’m not saying this will be the case but don’t you wish there was a public debate on the matter before signing the treaty?  At least an online official debate?

Worst case scenario and ACTA is all its opponents say it is, you have nothing to worry about; we can always come back to classic past-times. And maybe this will be a good thing as the Libraries law was modified and The National Library has to provide for itself as part of its budget won’t come from public funds. So hurry up and buy a pass, literature awaits you. For those of you who are not keen on fiction the Ombudsman gave a public release on the „free legislation” issue saying that the petition we talked about some weeks ago has no real basis: the Official Gazette is free on the internet (for the moment) and for those who like paper back collections there is one available in the Official Gazette’s Library. If none of the above makes you tick, for a year or two you can enjoy yourself with another undisclosed piece of information. As we now know the new Civil Procedure Code shall enter into force on June 1st 2012. It has 1119 articles so you have reading material for a while. The undisclosed information relates to the implementing law that does more than implement: it modifies the code a little, here and there. A little as in 306 alterations or 30%, here and there as in everywhere in the law. So you see ACTA or no ACTA you will have a blast reading the code, then reading the implementation law, then making the neccesary corelations and coming back to reading the code… and soon after you finish this exciting quest we will be on our way to colonising another planet.

„Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise…” so who wants us dumb?

Alexandra LANCRANJAN

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