The 18th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations began in Malaysia this week. Known to many as the Internet Trap, the TPP is a secretive and extreme trade agreement being negotiated behind closed doors by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, Singapore, and Vietnam. Negotiations for this round are set to conclude on July 24, 2013.

The TPP is being negotiated in near-total secrecy – unless you are one of 600 Big Industry lobbyist ‘advisors’ and un-elected bureaucrats invited to participate in the process. Leaked drafts of the agreement obtained by public interest organizations show that the TPP would end the open Internet as we know it and would break out digital future. Specifically, the agreement includes an Intellectual Property chapter that would criminalize your online activity, invade your privacy, and cost you money.

According to experts at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, normal online activities “could lead you to be cut off from the Internet, have your computer seized, be fined up to $150,000, or even land you in prison.”

The truth is, the TPP would never pass with the whole world watching – that’s why they’re negotiating it in secret. Those few public representatives who have seen the text are sounding the alarm – U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson is one of the few public officials who has seen the draft negotiating text. Rep. Grayson commented:

“Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that’s fair to say from what I’ve seen so far. But I’m not allowed to tell you why!”

Reflecting on the current U.S. National Security Agency spying revelations, he also said:

“It is ironic in a way that the government thinks it’s alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away.”

TPP industry lobbyists are aiming to wrap this agreement as soon as possible. They need you to stay silent. The Internet needs you to speak up. Here’s how you can help:

A – Join the campaign to demand a Fair Deal:

We’re building our own international partnership for a Fair Deal for our digital future. A multi-nation campaign is underway based on the rejection of: “copyright proposals that restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights.”

Sign on at: http://OurFairDeal.org

B- Speak out on Social Media:

Please use social media including Facebook and Twitter to circulate these suggested messages, tagging U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (@USTradeRep)

.@USTradeRep The #TPP is secretive, extreme & will break our digital future. #StopTPP and give us a #FairDeal: http://OurFairDeal.org

Truth is if you knew about the #TPP, you’d hate it. Tell @USTradeRep Froman you want a #FairDeal: http://OurFairDeal.org

C. Spread the word!

Your friends, family, and networks may not know about the TPP – and that’s what TPP industry lobbyists are counting on. Find outreach resources here and here.

Public representatives, grassroots organizations, and the media have been locked out of these secret negotiations. You, as a member of the public, have been locked out from having a voice in a process that will affect your future.

Your team at OpenMedia collaborating with a network of organizations and people have tried to insert the voices of the Internet community – see here and here – but so far those leading the TPP have refused to open the process.  Does this sound like a fair deal to you?

We need your help in spreading the word. The time to act is now – get started at: http://OurFairDeal.org