Thursday, October 28, 2021

The United Kingdom’s proposed Internet regulation will censor ordinary people’s conversations: report

Another freedom of speech regulator slammed the British government’s proposed law to address Internet abuse, warning that it would effectively prohibit ordinary online conversations that are still legal on the street.

A report published by Big Brother Watch on September 5 (pdf) Said that online freedom of speech is already shrinking in the name of preventing harm, and the proposed online safety bill will make the situation worse.

this Draft bill Designed to protect adults and children from illegal and legal “harm” online, critics and supporters describe it as the most ambitious attempt to regulate the Internet in the free world.

It will authorize the broadcasting regulator Ofcom to fine or even block technology companies that violate the rules.

Mark Johnson, legal and policy officer of Big Brother Watch, commented in a statement about the report’s release: “We have revealed how social media companies have adopted increasingly stringent speech standards in recent years.” “As people remember. Compared to any other law in the United Kingdom, the Online Security Act will only make the situation worse and pose a greater threat to freedom of speech in the UK.”

“The bill does not help the police to deal with real online crimes at all, but focuses on the conversations of ordinary people,” he added. “These new rules will leave us with two layers of speech. Speeches allowed on the street are not allowed to be published online.”

Other think tanks have raised similar concerns, including Institute of Economic Affairs, Review index, Open Rights Group, this Adam Smith Institute, with Freedom of Speech Coalition.

The government insists that the new law has adequate freedom of speech protection and will not regulate legal content posted by adults.

‘No apology for wanting to protect children’

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Media, Culture and Sports told The Epoch Times, “We do not apologize for wanting to protect online children and deal with criminal content, including content that protects young people from sexual abuse and encourages self-harm and suicide.”

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“The claim that this threatens freedom of speech is completely untrue-in fact, our new law strengthens the protection of freedom of speech and news content to prevent technology companies from arbitrarily deleting legal content. The ministers have made it clear that they will not Allow this to be a tool of review.”

However, despite this guarantee, many free speech organizations have expressed concerns about legal but “harmful” content categories.

Victoria Hewson of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a free market think tank, wrote a report on the bill in May.

She said that the Minister and Ofcom will enrich the definition of “harmful content.”

“This is where we expect to see things such as misinformation and false information being called harmful,” She told NTD before.

She said this may apply to content that is considered public health information. “So you can claim to have been harmed there, even though, as we have experienced in the past year or so, what is usually claimed to be false information turns out to be a fair comment or a beneficial challenge to general wisdom.”

The Big Brother Watch report also criticized the government’s current anti-disinformation team, which is part of the National Cyber ​​Security Center’s efforts to deal with online misinformation.

According to Big Brother Watch, the task force searched social media platforms and flagged their concerns.

“This behind-the-scenes relationship between the government and the platform is just a taste we can expect to see in the future,” Johnson said in a statement. Separate statement“The online security bill proposed by the government will be the final result of this power integration. Company terms and conditions will become synonymous with domestic laws, and the power of the platform will be consolidated through national legitimacy.”

Simon Wiese

Freelance journalist

Simon Veazey is a British journalist who has been reporting various beats for The Epoch Times since 2006, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based breaking news writing.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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