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UK’s new online safety bill has passed both first and second reading in the house of the lords, and is close to becoming an established set of laws. Before that happens, we should talk about the problems that arise from this new bill and why it might not be the best solution for online safety.
One of the main reasons for establishing the bill was a cry for online child safety. As kids get more exposed to the internet, they face many threats including ill intended adults and harmful content, but whose responsibility is it to filter a child’s online feed? The new online safety bill advocates for putting responsibility on tech company managers who fail to stop children from seeing harmful or abusive content online.
In simple words, if the CEO of a social media platform fails to make changes that support the new bill, they might face jail time or be heavily fined.
According to critics, both the fixation on child safety and several other measures actually threatens privacy and private communications online and they urge the UK Parliament to reject the current draft of the bill.
The restrictions that will be put in place if the bill passes all approval stages not only tackles illegal content, but also legal content that could be considered harmful. Such wording lends itself to abuse and restriction of free speech if utilized by ill intended individuals.
However, UK’s former Home Secretary Priti Patel, who also supported a proposal to jail tech bosses, has been calling encryption a “betrayal” of children because it allegedly limits the ability of police to investigate child abuse.
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