Britain Signs Acta: Only Five Domino's Left in the Online Censorship Chain
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Despite widespread protests both on and offline, Britain has signed Acta, leaving the controversial agreement just five signatures shy of universal EU approval.

Westminster signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) in Tokyo last week alongside several other member states including Poland. Designed to harmonise copyright enforcement across much of the world, only five EU countries have not given Acta their signature.

Though Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia have yet to sign, Acta could still be passed. The final decision on incorporating Acta into EU law will rest with the European Parliament, which will vote on it in June.

Official information about Acta is sparse with the final draft - which is reportedly very different to the original version - yet to be formerly released. Security analysts have claimed that many of the original draft's more troubling elements, such as the ability to force countries to disconnect internet users if they were found to be repeatedly sharing copyrighted content, have been removed.

"Many of the initial provisions of Acta have been dropped or watered down. There is still some concern that Acta could lead to online censorship and the loss of internet freedom," Sophos analyst Graham Cluley told IBTimes UK.

Numerous protests have been carried out against Acta. Most recently a large demonstration was mounted in Poland to protest against the government's Acta support. The Anonymous collective has also mounted its own online campaign, mounting a series of distributed denial of service attacks on Acta supporters' sites.

EU spokesmen have not replied to International Business Times UK's requests for comment.