Duty to Censor: What’s legal to say should be legal to type

Open Rights Group has joined Index on Censorship’s “Legal to say, legal to type” campaign to scrutinise and push back against the threats to freedom of expression created by government’s Online Safety Bill.

A new report from Index On Censorship warns that the bill’s introduction of the “Duty of Care model”, which comes from Health and Safety legislation, is overly simplistic. The new rule would force tech platforms to delete posts that are legal under laws passed by Parliament but considered “harmful”. The bill does not define what is and is not “harmful”, which will result in many perfectly legal posts from ordinary people being banned online. The bill effectively outsources internet policing from the police, courts and Parliament to Silicon Valley.

Jim Killock, Chief Executive at Open Rights Group states: 

“Outsourcing decision making around free speech to Silicon Valley and taking away this responsibility from the UK’s Parliament and Courts would be a huge mistake. The threat of colossal fines or even jail time for Directors will cause tech platforms to overreact, prompting them to remove content that is perfectly legal. Worse still, politicians and journalists are opted out of the law, creating an unhealthy two-tier system online.”

Watch the panel discussion from this morning’s report launch here.

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