156,226 of 175,000 signatures

To the members of the European Parliament and responsible Ministers of the Member States.

Petition text:

The proposed EU legislation on “Trade Secrets Protection” creates excessive rights to secrecy for businesses: it is a direct threat to the work of journalists and their sources, whistleblowers, employees’ freedom of expression, and our rights to access public interest information (on medicines, pesticides, car emissions, etc.).

Please vote against it and ask the European Commission to come up with a text that protects trade secrets without endangering everyone else’s political rights.

Whistleblowers, journalists, scientists, trade unionists, employees, citizens... The “Trade Secrets Protection” Directive threatens democracy.

Update: We lost the 14 April vote in the European Parliament. But the visibility we and others gave to the dangers contained in the text has been amazing and is important. Indeed for the text to be definitely adopted at the EU level, it must still be approved, or not, by national governments on 17 May, during a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

It’s more important than ever to make our voices heard because even we cannot influence the Council to vote against the directive we can still make them fear what will await them at home when they need to adapt the new EU framework into national law for it to become real legislation.

It is very important that they know we're watching and that we will fight for this text to be limited to its strictest purpose: fight economic spies. And not anyone else!

The fight goes on! Please sign the petition and share with your friends.

Why is this important?

When Antoine Deltour, an employee of multinational audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, decided to leak to French journalist Edouard Perrin some of the biggest financial secrets in history, they probably didn't know what they were getting into. [1]

They exposed secret tax rulings in Luxembourg that allow multinational corporations like Amazon to dodge taxes in the EU - to the tune of billions of euros. And yet, today they face trial for “trade secrets violation”. [2]

In 2015, Antoine was awarded the European Citizen's Prize by the European Parliament for his courage. But in April, days before their trial, the European Parliament will vote on a new law that could further silence whistleblowers and journalists by putting them at risk of long jail sentences and crippling fines.

This is not going to be an easy battle: multinational corporations have been lobbying for this for years, but the general public hardly knows anything about it. The text can today no longer be changed. We need to call on the European Parliament to reject it.

Watch this short video:

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More information:

This new law is called the “Trade Secrets Protection Directive”.[3] The definition of trade secrets in this new EU directive is so broad that almost all internal information within a company can be considered a trade secret. It will put anybody revealing such information without the company's consent at risk. [4]

But citizens, journalists, scientists... sometimes also need to have access to and publish this information for the common good. They would now face legal threats, years in prison and heavy fines worth hundreds of thousands of euros for doing so. This effectively prevents people reporting corporate misconduct or wrongdoing. What media editor can afford to take the risk of financial ruin? [5]

It is a direct threat to the work of journalists and their sources, whistleblowers, employees’ freedom of expression, and our rights to access public interest information (on medicines, clinical trials data, pesticides, car emissions, etc.).

It gets worse. If the directive is approved at the European level, member states will be able to go further when they adapt it into national law - and be lobbied by industry all over Europe to do so.

Sign the petition to protect whistleblowers and the public’s right to know

References:

< a href="http://www.emeeting.europarl.europa.eu/committees/download.do?docUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.europarl.europa.eu%2Fmeetdocs%2F2014_2019%2Fplmrep%2FCOMMITTEES%2FJURI%2FDV%2F2016%2F01-28%2Fsn01019_EN.pdf">The official directive

[1] 'I am not a martyr', says LuxLeaks whistleblower facing jail http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/110e2524-b925-11e4-a8d0-00144feab7de.html#axzz438yZ2eYy

[2] Luxembourg tax files: how tiny state rubber-stamped tax avoidance on an industrial scale http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/05/-sp-luxembourg-tax-files-tax-avoidance-industrial-scale and Luxembourg Leaks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourg_Leaks

[3] Full name of the directive: “Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure”

[4] “Access to information rights in the Trade Secrets Directive” - briefing by ClientEarth, http://documents.clientearth.org/wp-content/uploads/library/2016-01-30-access-to-information-rights-in-the-trade-secrets-directive-ce-en.pdf

[5] “Trade Secrets Protection”, A New Right To Secrecy For Companies, and A Dangerous EU Legislative Proposal Which Must Be Rejected, by Corporate Europe Observatory http://corporateeurope.org/power-lobbies/2016/03/trade-secrets-protection

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