For The Children: UK To Establish Internet Czar To Regulate Harmful Speech

For The Children: UK To Establish Internet Czar To Regulate Harmful Speech

For The Children: UK To Establish Internet Czar To Regulate Harmful Speech

Social media has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, it’s been a vehicle used to help people, reunite families and classmates, and celebrate those special moments in life. On the negative side, social media has become a web of cyber bullying, doxxing, and a sewer of negativity and fake news. The UK (United Kingdom) has the answer. Put an Internet Czar in place to monitor social media and rid the world of the harms it causes. This will solve everything right?

“The UK government is taking a hard line when it comes to online safety, moving to establish what it says is the world’s first independent regulator to keep social media companies in check.

Companies that fail to live up to requirements will face huge fines, and senior directors who are proven to have been negligent will be held personally liable. They may also find access to their sites blocked.”

Just that is enough to send more than a few alarm bells ringing. You see, this regulator is going to keep all of us, especially the children, safe from harm.

Of course many are immediately pointing out the fact that it will help save children from online predators. So censorship is a good thing. Others believe that it will stop the scourge of terrorism permeating throughout the web. So blocking access in the name of safety is great. Keeping children from viewing sites that promote self-harm or encourage bullying is why this kind of censorship is ok.

The argument in Britain is that it is the government’s duty, according to Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, to keep everyone safe. 

“One of Government’s primary duties is to keep people safe. That’s why, through our Online Harms White Paper, we will create a new statutory duty of care for online platforms.

This will require tech companies to have proper systems in place to seek out harmful content and prevent it reaching vulnerable people — especially children.”

The top-line problems to be addressed by this new internet regulation are as follows:

Inciting violence and spreading violent content (including terrorist content)
Encouraging self-harm or suicide
The spread of disinformation and fake news
Cyberbullying
Children accessing inappropriate material
Child exploitation and abuse content

It’s not just the social media sites that will be regulated. The UK plans to include file-sharing sites, online forums of all kinds, messaging services, and all search engines.

This from a government who was fine with police departments wanting people to turn others in for vaguely defined hate speech. This when London tries to ban knives and the problem of knife attacks is getting worse.

Evidently the regulator(s) can investigate and levy fines if the restrictions aren’t met. The proponents are saying it’s a ‘moral duty’ for all of internet technology to be regulated. It’s for the children!

“”For too long social networks have failed to prioritise children’s safety and left them exposed to grooming, abuse, and harmful content,” he said.

“So it’s high time they were forced to act through this legally binding duty to protect children, backed up with hefty punishments if they fail to do so.”

What could possibly go wrong? Will the regulator apply the rules even handedly? I have my doubts.

All very very going points to consider with this regulatory move. Once one starts cracking down on SOME speech, it’s a slippery slope to crack down on ANY speech that the regulator(s) decide is wrong speak.

There is much more to this ‘online harms’ proposal. I would suggest you read it all.

Who is going to determine what is Fake News? Who is going to be in charge of determining what news item, blog post, video, photo, is correct and what isn’t? Are there checks and balances? If someone posts online that they are critical of something the Internet Czar, what will happen to them?

What if it’s the Internet Czar who is the one who breaks the rules of the ‘duty of care’ that Jeremy Wright talks about here?

In a rush to fix things, I’m afraid more freedom and safety will be lost than gained. And we will all be the less from it.

Feature Photo Credit: Pixabay.com, cropped and modified

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2 Comments
  • Jim says:

    This sounds like the Human Relations Committee in Australia which, over a long period, pursued university students for casual comments regarding unsign-posted facilities about racially segregated computer rooms. The Committee and also sought to target cartoonists making reasonable social commentary, including the man who drew the cartoon about the gracious Miss Williams at the US open tennis championship amongst many other stupid decisions. Such ”committees” develop a life of their own as they need to find more and more crimes to prosecute and witches to burn to justify their own smug existence. In fact if the clowns who push such organisations knew any history they would know that such committees, including the Committee of Public Safety [1793] in France become increasingly powerful and repressive and do great damage to honest and innocent people.

  • Russ Wood says:

    When will the furshlugginer politicians remember Franklin’s quote: ” Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    But then the un-representative UK politicians don’t seem to really care about the ordinary people they are SUPPOSED to represent! Oh – but then, isn’t that the same with ALL politicians?
    And another quote, from Mark Twain: “Sir, suppose you were a politician and a rogue – Ah! But I repeat myself!”

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