Online Safety Bill sinking under flood of amendments 

Attempts to solve social problems with draconian regulation of internet services won’t help victims. Amendments are flooding in with a raft of new proposals. [1]Controversial scanning of private messages risks WhatsApp pulling services from the UK. [2]

The Online Safety Bill is set to return to Parliament next week. 

A flood of recent amendments seek to solve everything from football hooliganism to sexual harassment. [3]

Dr Monica Horten, Policy Manager for Freedom of Expression at the Open Rights Group said:

“The Government is scrambling to solve a host of problems with draconian regulation.

“From age-gating popular social media sites to monitoring all our private messages the Government appears to taking an approach more akin to Putin’s Russia or Xi’s China.

“Global providers such as WhatsApp could pull their services from the UK rather than comply with demands to scan their customer’s private communications.

“What Government wants to be responsible for driving away the apps we use to keep in touch with friends and family?.”

Press – we have spokespeople available for further comment or interview 07817605162 / press@openrightsgroup.org

Notes to the editor

1. A list of the latest amendments to the bill can be found at https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-03/0121/amend/onlinesafety_rm_rep_1128.pdf

2. During an interview in July the head of WhatsApp said they could pull the service from the UK rather than compromise on their user’s message privacy and encryption – https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct375d

3. Ministers have stated the bill will include future amendments to tackle further issues including down-blousing and deepfake porn. – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-63669711

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