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Digital Wild West to Get a New Sheriff

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

Plans are afoot around the world to curb www (world wild west) and now it looks like the UK is to introduce pioneering legislation.

The joint committee on the online safety bill has announced that it was reining in the tech industry’s “land of the lawless” with its report on the pioneering legislation. Unveiling the document, the committee’s Conservative chair, Damian Collins MP, said: “The Committee were unanimous in their conclusion that we need to call time on the wild west online.”

The 192-page report recommends a sweeping overhaul of the bill, which is aimed at companies that provide user-generated content – i.e. social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and video sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok – as well as search engines like Google. The bill imposes a duty of care on tech firms to protect users from harmful content, at the risk of a substantial fine brought by Ofcom, the communications industry regulator implementing the act, reports Techscape.

The bill matters because it represents an attempt to properly regulate social media companies, video sharing sites and search engines under one legislative roof for the first time. And the report matters too. It is a thorough piece of work by a cross-party group of MPs and peers who know their stuff and supported the 170 conclusions unanimously. The government has already pledged to give it serious consideration and the committee is also likely to endure as a watchdog for the bill once it becomes law – an oversight structure modelled on the human rights joint committee.

As with all such things there's still a long way to go, but it's good news that there's going to be a new sheriff in Dodge...


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