Matthew Lesh, Head of Public Policy at the free market Institute of Economic Affairs commented on the return of the Online Safety Bill to Parliament
The Online Safety Bill's return provides a crucial opportunity for parliamentarians to reconsider its most problematic elements. The current Bill raises serious threats to freedom of expression, privacy, and innovation. Its return was expected but the devil will be in the detail of the government's new amendments.
The removal of duties in relation to legal but harmful' speech, as has been suggested, will be an important step in the right direction. But it is as important, if not more, to address other issues with the Bill.
These include the mandating of automated monitoring and removal of user speech, while lowering the threshold for anything that platforms reasonably infer' could be illegal content. There are also serious privacy issues raised by the undermining of end-to-end encryption and age verification. That says nothing of the wide array of additional regulatory burdens that risk doing serious damage to Britain's start-up sector.
Notes to editors
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