What’s legal to say should be legal to type. A government regulator shouldn’t control your speech, online or off. Yet the new Online Safety Bill could lead to just that, or worse.
The bloated Bill contains so many risks that it’s hard to know where to begin.
For starters, the Bill aims to scrap encryption for messaging apps so your private messages with family and friends can be scanned and censored by the Government. This would make it easier for predators, criminals, blackmailers and scammers to hack and exploit millions of people.
Next, the appointment of a state speech regulator - appointed and directed by government - will create a sprawling bureaucracy of speech police. The Home Office and the DCMS will direct what speech must be removed, filtered and monitored.
Worse yet, the Bill’s provisions to block websites, apps, or services which refuse to cooperate with the speech regulator’s orders could put household names like Wikipedia, Reddit and Tumblr in the crosshairs. Meanwhile, tech giants with the resources to surveil all user content would grow ever stronger.
Feel safer yet?
Political pressure is building on Parliament to advance the Online Safety Bill. When the time comes, ORG will need your help to campaign for a better, rights-based approach to making the Internet safer.
Sign our pledge to help stop state censorship of online speech!