Online Safety Bill Delayed: Opportuntiy for a rethink

For Immediate Release

The government has delayed Online Safety Bill debate until the Autumn
Parliamentarians must think through the consequences for free expression and privacy
The Online Safety Bill is to be delayed until a new Conservative leader is elected, giving MPs an opportunity for a rethink. [1]

The Online Safety Bill will create industrial-scale systems to remove content deemed unsafe.
Systems introduced by broadband providers after pressure from David Cameron’s government are today blocking Penny Mordaunt’s website as unsafe for children on TalkTalk and Virgin Media, illustrating the kinds of problems the Online Safety Bill will create.

The blocks can be verified using Open Rights Groups tool for monitoring online censorship. [2]

Free Expression Policy Manager of the Open Rights Group, Dr Monica Horten, said:

“The Online Safety Bill is fundamentally mis-conceived. It holds out the threat that our social media posts will be removed and censored, and goes to the heart of our basic right to express our opinions online, and to hear the opinions of others.

“Penny Mordaunt’s own campaign website being listed as unsafe for children and blocked by customers of some broadband providers, using their filters, shows what can and will go wrong.”

“As it stands, the Bill would mean everyone’s social media posts are monitored in case they are ‘harmful’ or illegal, and even private messages could be scanned. What is ‘harmful’ will be decided by government Ministers behind closed doors. While the motivations may be good, the result is bad for free speech. MPs now have a chance for a rethink, which is long overdue, if we want to protect our free society from arbitrary censorship and mass surveillance.”



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Notes to editor
[2] Penny Mordaunt’s site can be verified as blocked by Virgin and TalkTalk filters at