Future of the Internet

No More Corporate Secrecy: Stop EU Trade Secrets Law

Web We want’s newest member, the activist group Xnet in Spain, today launched a campaign against corporate secrecy, raising concerns around the upcoming Trade Secrets Directive in Europe (full text).

If the law is passed by the European Union, it could restrict journalists, activists and whistleblowers from exposing the wrongdoings of European corporations anywhere in the world, including those collaborating with autocratic regimes on surveillance and censorship technologies.

In the name of promoting innovation, the directive would enable companies to hide evidence from public view when accused of any wrongdoing by activists or whistleblowers. In legal proceedings, private companies could prohibit the disclosure of documents deemed to be “trade secrets” making it more difficult to hold them accountable.

It would likely also have the chilling effect of more censorship and take down orders as a precautionary measure for fear of infringing trade secrets. For Internet activists who typically expose bad behavior by companies online, the directive is of particular concern as it ignores the current reality of how illegal actions regularly come to light.

Read the directive and join the discussion before it is passed. Watch the video and support the campaign by sharing it with the hashtag #StopTradeSecrets.

About the author

Renata Avila

Renata Avila

Renata Avila is a human rights lawyer from Guatemala and the Global Campaign Manager of the Web We Want. She has been involved in Internet and Human Rights research since 2009, and currently serves as a Board Member of Creative Commons. She is also on the Courage Foundation Advisory Board, assisting whistleblowers at risk and on the board of D-Cent, exploring the future of decentralised technologies.

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1 Comment

  • Hi Renata. The text you published above is the initial Commission proposal! It has been quite heavily amended to increase safeguards for whistleblowers, freedom of the press, protection of journalist sources! Companies cannot escape their obligations to divulge information (even trade secrets) to the European Chemicals Agency and the European Medicines Agency for example (see article 1).

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