UK Pressing Forward With Online Safety Bill
from the bad-ideas-never-die dept
Well, this is unfortunate.
We’ve already highlighted the many, many problems with the Online Safety Bill in the UK, which will be a massive attack on free speech, in that (among many other problems) it seeks to force websites to remove content even if it’s “lawful,” meaning that they will massively overcensor. As I’ve pointed out, this is exactly how the original Great Firewall of China began, with instructions from the government to remove “harmful” content or face consequences. The reaction, of course, was to remove anything that the government might consider to be harmful.
It should be no surprise, then, that some of the people backing the bill have literally cited China as an example of how this regulation can work.
Hey, UK policymakers, when you’re using China’s censorship regime as a positive example of what you’re trying to do, perhaps you’ve gone just a bit off track?
Anyway, the Online Safety Bill was briefly put on hold, following the Brexit of Boris Johnson, but it was quite clear that the leading candidate to replace him, Liz Truss, also supported this nonsense. While some of the others vying for the Prime Minister slot were much less welcoming of the Online Safety Bill, it was Truss who won out in the end (for now, at least), and while everyone’s distracted by the fact that someone else died in the UK, Truss is ready to move forward with the Online Safety Bill again.
“We will be proceeding with the Online Safety Bill,” Truss said. “There are some issues that we need to deal with. What I want to make sure is that we protect the under-18s from harm and that we also make sure free speech is allowed, so there may be some tweaks required, but certainly he is right that we need to protect people’s safety online.”
This is just so ridiculously ignorant and uninformed. The Online Safety Bill is a disaster in waiting and I wouldn’t be surprised if some websites chose to exit the UK entirely rather than continue to deal with the law.
It won’t actually protect the children, of course. It will create many problems for them. It won’t do much at all, except make internet companies question whether it’s even worth doing business in the UK.