UK Government introduces Online Safety Bill

17/03/2022 | UK Government

The Government has finally introduced the Online Safety Bill in Parliament, where it will now be scrutinised. Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "The internet has transformed our lives for the better. It's connected us and empowered us. But on the other side, tech firms haven't been held to account when harm, abuse and criminal behaviour have run riot on their platforms. Instead they have been left to mark their own homework."

Emma Woollcott, Partner and Head of the Reputation Protection and Crisis Management team at Mishcon de Reya commented: "The Government's ambitious plans to tackle online harms have taken a significant step forward today with the publication of the Online Safety Bill. It is clear that careful attention has been paid to feedback from Parliament and wider society on a range of important issues such as anonymity, cyber flashing and revenge porn, hate crime and scam adverts." 

Not all responses have been favourable. The Open Rights Group responded to the Government's press release by saying: "Without seeing the text of the Bill, there are already things we can say about the Online Safety Bill. It is a festival of inane, poorly thought out and dangerous ideas. Longer term, it will be fuel for the Putins and other authoritarians, who revel in the prospect of identifying everyone and deciding for themselves what is right and wrong, and will be very pleased that the UK Government is taking essentially the same approach."

Meanwhile, The Guardian spoke to people who have suffered from the damage the Bill is trying to prevent and penalise.

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