The EP received a petition signed by more than 2.4 million internet users against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). They fear that the agreement will pose a threat to a free and open internet. The petition was organised by Avaaz, an organisation which uses internet to campaign on various issues.
The petitions committee works to resolve infringements of citizens' rights through cooperation with local, regional and national authorities on the application of EU law on a range of issues. It is an investigative committee and has no legal power, but tries to find non-judicial remedies for citizens whose claims are substantiated. It can organise fact-finding visits and report to plenary.
ACTA is aimed at more effectively enforcing intellectual property rights on an international level. It has proved controversial because critics worry the agreement would favour the interests of large companies at the expense of citizens' rights and see its possible application in the online sphere as a threat to people's privacy and human rights.
As the Parliament rejected it on 4 July 2012, it cannot enter into force in the EU.
"To all Members of the EU Parliament: As concerned global citizens, we call on you to stand for a free and open Internet and reject the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which would destroy it. The Internet is a crucial tool for people around the world to exchange ideas and promote democracy. We urge you to show true global leadership and protect our rights."