UK Cabinet Backs Tougher Regulation for Internet Harm

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Landmark Legislation

UK Cabinet Backs Tougher Regulation for Internet Harm

The Online Safety Bill aims to crack down on illegal, harmful content and false information being spread across the internet, namely social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

The bill is the first of its kind – a brand new kind of legislation that creates rules for how online platforms like Twitter and Facebook deal with the content that is published on their sites.

In recent months, there have been calls to review the previous 2021 bill. Many were requesting to revise the bill and implement tougher restrictions, as well as adding new offences like racial abuse, self-harm, and phishing scams. 

The original 2019 Online Harm White Paper was renamed the Online Safety Bill in May of 2021 and gave the Secretary of State the power to address and tackle different social media issues and harmful content.

The recent changes to the bill have now been backed by the UK Cabinet. The safety bill would create and demand a duty of care from all Social Media outlets and will require all social media outlets to use their own tech to source and remove harmful and illegal content, laid out by the bill. In short – legislation will be introduced to ensure that social media and web companies are keeping their users safe online. 

 

The amendments to the safety bill have naturally triggered a negative response from the affected tech giants, who fear that changes to laws and policies will make them liable for their users’ posts.

The legislation has been received well by most ministers in parliament, however, some have worried about the protection of free speech and the dangers of censorship. 

So we at RiskEye decided to run through some of the reasons we need an Online Safety Bill that will be applied worldwide. 

You might be wondering why we would need an internet safety bill – let us walk you through some of the facts. 

In the early years of the internet, companies such as Microsoft and IBM decided that the internet would be created without regulation. It would be used as a way of effectively communicating, educating, and sharing data for free. Good news for us right?

Unfortunately, the internet became quickly dominated by large tech companies and allowed its internet users to be monitored, aggressively marketed to, and most importantly – lied to.

Can the general public be allowed to be fed misinformation and have their privacy violated?

Can cyber-criminals be allowed to share harmful content under the guise of ‘free speech’?

The short answer.. Even today this type of activity and harmful content is allowed on every corner of the world-wide-web because the internet, until now, has always been self-regulating. 

For the first time, and due to the nature of some of the content, and the level of harm it has created, the bill will create accountability. 

Although many may worry about freedom of speech – we have to think “would this be allowed in the real-world?” – and if not, why should it be allowed online?

The bill is set to do three things:

  • Protect children from harmful content
  • Protect adults from harmful content
  • Protect everyone from spreading illegal content such as child abuse, racial abuse, or discriminatory abuse.

The bill will allow Ofcom to monitor these tech companies and ensure that they are doing their duty to remove harmful content from their platforms. 

Lobbyists are hoping for financial scams to be added to the bill, stating that these scams cause severe and significant financial and emotional harm.

We at RiskEye are eager to see how this plays out, as the bill is the first of its kind – a landmark piece of legislation. 

Follow us for more updates on the Online Safety Bill!

At RiskEye, we are moving to a time of needing new skills to see this new digital world in a new way. RiskEye monitors your brand online 24/7, using real people to send you alerts, so you don’t have to spend so much time watching for risk. 

For an insight into online risk and what it means for you, check out our website www.riskeye.com, or email [email protected]. We make social safer!

 

 

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