Brief Reprieve: UK Puts Online Safety Bill On Hold While It Sorts Out Its Boris Johnson-Shaped Mess
from the brexit-delayed-again dept
I guess it’s only natural that the UK’s Online Safety Bill — brilliantly dubbed the bill to Brexit the internet by Heather Burns — is getting delayed, just like the regular Brexit. And, no surprise, Boris Johnson is part of the issue again. As you’ll have likely heard, if you haven’t been under a rock, Johnson is on his way out and is currently in the lamest of lame ducks periods as we wait to figure out what other nutty character will replace him (don’t worry, none of the choices are good).
However, that leaves the Online Safety Bill in a bit of limbo. As we’ve described there’s no way to look at this bill and not conclude that it will be the end of the open internet in the UK. There will still be something called “the internet” but it will not be the actual internet. It will be a weak facsimile. An internet modeled on China’s Great Firewall, but with what some in the UK think of as British sensibility.
It will be a disaster.
But, at least in the meantime, with Boris Johnson packing up his office, the Online Safety Bill has been put on hold.
Ministers have dropped plans to pass the online safety bill next week amid wrangling in the Conservative leadership race, as they were accused of having “given up on governing” by opposition parties.
Now, my initial assumption was that this was just a very temporary stay of execution for the open internet in the UK, however apparently at least some of the motley crew of replacement wannabes aren’t entirely bought into this idea of killing the open internet in the UK.
Kemi Badenoch, who came fourth in Wednesday’s Tory leadership ballot, said it was the right move and the bill was “in no fit state to become law”. She added: “If I’m elected prime minister I will ensure the bill doesn’t overreach. We should not be legislating for hurt feelings.”
Still, it seems likely that some awful bill is going to get passed at some point, and then it’ll be a few years before UK politicians start wondering loudly why there’s no real internet industry in the UK any more.