We’ve written a few times now about Rep. Darrell Issa, and the Madison platform his office has set up to allow for crowdsourcing opinion on legislation and other government documents. He originally used it for his OPEN Act, but then later posted the text of ACTA as well. His latest move is to post the leaked text of the US’s negotiating position on TPP. This is the same text that leaked out last year. It would be nice if the USTR did something like this itself with the latest text, but that’s not how USTR Ron Kirk works. To him “transparency” is only sharing the text with big industry special interests, and declaring it a matter of “national security” if anyone else wants to see it.
Issa recognizes how this is dangerous to a functioning democracy, when our federal government is negotiating deals in back rooms, despite the fact they will have a massive impact on the public:
“At a time when the American people and Internet users all around the world are rightfully wary of any closed-door negotiations that could adversely impact their ability to freely and openly access the Internet, the Obama Administration continues to pursue a secretive, closed-door negotiating process for the Trans Pacific Partnership,” Issa said. “I have decided to publish the intellectual property rights chapter of TPP in Madison so that the public can provide input to those negotiating this agreement, and to push this Administration – and the federal government as a whole – to be open, transparent and inclusive when it comes to international intellectual property rights agreements that have potentially serious consequences for the Internet community.”
Again, it’s great that he’s added this text to the Madison platform, but it’s disappointing that it’s still the old leaked version, rather than anything more up to date. The version he posted is now 15 months old, and there have been a bunch of additional negotiations since then. Still, it’s good to see others in the federal government trying to encourage discussion on this agreement, even if the USTR continues to hide in secrecy (unless you’re a big corporate lobbyist, of course).