Prison tech bosses’ threat of ‘harmful content’ will jeopardize UK tech sector and civil rights, activists warned.
Penalties have been added to the UK government’s Online Safety Act. Senior executives of internet platforms could be jailed for failing to protect children from harm online under new legislative amendments. The amendment also calls for the removal of videos that portray illegal immigration in a “positive light.”
The changes were made under pressure from ruling Conservative Party politicians. Lawmakers had proposed criminal liability for any breach of child safety obligations, but the government limited this to deliberate breaches.
UK Culture and Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said in a statement that only those who “agree or condone” to ignore the enforcement notice Only senior executives may face the risk of imprisonment.
Complying in good faith and in a proportionate manner, it gives the Act the added edge to deliver change and ensure people are held accountable when they fail to properly protect children responsibility,” she said.
Safe Kids welcomed the move to hold executives criminally accountable, but critics raised a range of concerns. The diversity of dissent is striking.
Wikimedia warns that penalties will not only affect big tech companies, but also volunteer-led content moderation and public interest sites. The nonprofit also notes that mandatory age verification could collect additional data, jeopardizing user privacy.
Liberals have increased concerns about the economic fallout. Threats of jail and hefty fines, they argue, will stifle innovation and discourage start-ups in the UK Go about your business.
“The natural response would be to block the user.
Matthew Lesh, head of public policy at the free market think tank IEA, said the proposals would ultimately be a boon for Big Tech. Those rules, he argued, would create greater barriers to entry for smaller competitors.
network,” Lesh told TNW. user. This is thousands of US websites’ response to GDPR. “
Meanwhile, free speech activists fear platforms will be forced to aggressively block content and deploy automated monitoring systems. This could lead to censorship of legitimate posts, Reducing access to online services and restricting free speech.
“This can be very subjective.
The bill’s ambiguity raises further doubts. Legal experts worry that the rules will be interpreted differently.
: Physical or psychological harm,” Bird & Bird IT lawyer Graham Smith told TNW. Limited to medically approved situations, so this can be quite subjective. “
Ability to exploit rules has caused considerable alarm. Law professor accuses government of using child safety as a smokescreen for “censorship and control”.
tech ethicist warns bill could politicize ‘online harm’ – a theory reinforced in immigration proposals .
Politics of “hurt”
New proposals would make it mandatory by law to remove posts showing people crossing the English Channel in a ‘positive attitude’.
Government says, It would help tackle illegal immigration encouraged by gangs. Yet refugee charities warn it will jeopardize the rights of vulnerable migrants – and set a dangerous tone for campaigners precedent.
Digital rights group ORG states that censorship of small boat border crossings will be extended to search engines.
“If Websites whose content is deemed illegal may be downgraded on the list,” the group said in a tweet. “This could seriously affect groups protecting the rights of refugees and immigrants. ”
Alisha Lewis, Liberal Democrat local MP, described the proposal A fascinating combination of bad policy literacy and absurdly directed anti-refugee sentiment. “
Censorship of boat ferry images extends to search engines. If Sites whose content is deemed illegal may be downgraded from the list. This could seriously affect groups protecting refugee and immigrant rights. #OnlineSafetyBill https://t.co/NGNjPZQygL
— OpenRightsGroup (@OpenRightsGroup) January 20, 2023
There is no doubt that children’s online safety is urgent. But the proposed Broad reach, punitive measures, and subjectivity may create more problems than y solve. Almost four years after the government’s original white paper, the online safety bill remains in disarray .