THE CONTROVERSIAL Anti-Copyright Trade Agreement (ACTA) continues to lose support in Europe, with the Czech Republic becoming latest country to back away from the treaty.
This week Prime Minister Petr Necas joined the backlash and expressed concern about ACTA, saying that although he will take a look at it, his country will not ratify it.
"The cabinet cannot accept a situation in which the bedrock of liberty and free access to information is endangered," he said, according to the Czech news site www.ceskenoviny.cz. The Czech government will take a longer look at ACTA's provisions, he added.
"I want to emphasise that no checks of laptops on the borders, no monitoring of Internet users, no filtrations and similar things have ever threatened in the Czech Republic. No such threat has ever existed for a single moment."
The country had become a target for the hacktivist group Anonymous, which released personal details belonging to ministers and defaced some government web sites.
Slovakia is also backing away from the agreement, and has suspended its ratification process, according to the Associated Press. "I will not support a treaty that could limit human rights and freedoms," said Slovakia's Economy Minister Juraj Miskov.
In Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that his government signed the agreement without properly considering the opinions of its internet users, many of whom took to the streets for days last week to protest against its adoption.
Earlier, French MEP Kader Arif, who had a role in the investigation of ACTA, resigned in protest, saying that the agreement will restrict internet freedom and should have been worked on and agreed in a much more transparent manner.
The European Commission signed ACTA in January along with the US, Australia, Canada and Japan, but it must be approved by the European Parliament before it can go into effect, and that's starting to look less likely. µ
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