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UK pushes through another ‘Think of the Kids’ web censorship bill

Hadrian’s Cyber ​​Wall will be just as effective in keeping the Scots out

The British government is setting up its own cyber wall modeled on Hadrian’s Wall in that it will kinda suck, it will be expensive to build, and it will do nothing.

The Online Safety Bill before Parliament will require social media sites and tech companies to prevent users from being exposed to “harmful content”.

It will see communications regulator Ofcom given the power to impose fines or block sites that break the rules.

The bill includes the power to hold executives criminally liable if they fail to comply with Ofcom’s requests for information two months after the law comes into force, instead of the two years previously proposed.

Bulky content will be criminally liable for destroying evidence, failing to attend Ofcom interviews – or giving false information, or obstructing the regulator if they enter their offices.

The biggest social media companies must also deal with “legal but harmful” content under the updated proposals.

They will need to make risk assessments on the type of damage that might appear and state in their terms of service how they plan to deal with it.

What constitutes “legal but harmful” material will be defined by the government in secondary legislation after we assume its assessment by an elite team of “perfectly normal” nuns, priests, retired colonels and lunatics. .

Other changes to the Online Safety Bill include a requirement to report child sexual abuse to the National Crime Agency.

Previous versions of the bill were criticized for not being strong enough, and other recently announced changes include criminalizing cyberflashing and requiring porn sites to ensure users are over 18.

The law is being scrutinized by UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who says it is to protect the “wellbeing and innocence” of British children.

However, Dorries’ knowledge of how the internet works is considered rather limited.

According to sources speaking to Politico, Dorries recently met with Microsoft representatives to discuss delivering technology to the UK.

Dorries asked Microsoft when they were going to “get rid of the algorithms”, as if to assume that Microsoft was the central authority on the concept.

“If we don’t act, we risk sacrificing the well-being and innocence of countless generations of children to the power of uncontrolled algorithms,” she said.

Some activists have said the “legal but harmful” targeting is a “censor’s charter” that could harm free speech.

Open Rights Group leader Jim Killock said the law as drafted could prohibit Britons from doing normal things like cracking jokes, asking for help and engaging in healthy debate in line.

“There are now a lot of new and unworkable ideas being added at the last minute, making for a monstrous mix of apt-to-fail homework that will make minority groups less safe online.”