The UK Government is planning tougher internet regulation through its Online Safety Bill, which it says will be published this month.
Action to clamp down on content promoting violence, drugs, self-harm and suicide is very welcome. Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have been slow to remove illegal content. A requirement for online porn sites to prevent children accessing them is also great news – if overdue.
But the plans go much further. Ministers want to restrict legal content which is deemed ‘harmful’. This will be defined in part by the Secretary of State, with Silicon Valley firms and UK regulator Ofcom also having a huge say.
This is vague and very worrying. Big Tech will be deciding what should and shouldn’t be allowed in crucial and controversial areas of debate.