Britain’s Prime Minister Intends to Amend the Online Safety Bill in Favor of Free Speech
The Online Safety Bill which has been at the center of attention of the British parliamentarians and English society for the recent months could be revised upon suggestion of the new Prime Minister Liz Truss. She is concerned by the fact that excessive expansion of the regulations stipulated by the project could limit freedom of expression, Digit.fyi reports.
In its current wording, the bill publicly discussed could force such platforms as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to assume more responsibility for harmful content: from such issues as threatening behavior to racism or sexual abuse.
The document was suspended until the end of this year as the political rally started after Boris Johnson’s resignation. This break was a relief to both opponents of the bill and companies which could suffer from the impact of the initiative.
Truss confirmed she was planning to suggest amendments when the delayed bill returned to the House of Commons during the current parliamentary session. “What I want to make sure is we protect the under-18s from harm, but we also make sure free speech is allowed, so there may be some tweaks required,” she said.
According to the Financial Times (FT), the officials have been working on modifying the definition of what could be considered “legal but harmful” pursuant to the proposed legislation to give greater scope to say on web what is acceptable in person, even if some people find it offensive. The FT remarks that Truss told a Tory leadership campaign event this summer that “where it’s about adults being able to speak freely, they absolutely should be, and it should be the same online as offline.”
Other amendments to the Online Safety Bill were suggested in March this year, including those aimed at countering the expanding threats of misleading advertising and online fraud.
The amendments could include a larger online advertising regulation reform and authorizing the regulators to tackle harmful, offensive, and misleading advertising.
In addition, the government declared it intended to take rigorous steps against fraud and demanded from influencers to declare their payments for product promotion to avoid more serious penalties than before.