Online Safety Bill: Peers have failed to protect our privacy and security

Open Rights Group has responded to last night’s debate on the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords.

Dr Monica Horten, policy manager for freedom of expression at Open Rights Group, said:

“It is disappointing that peers have failed to protect the privacy and security of the 40 million people in the UK who use messaging apps to communicate with friends, family and colleagues.

“As it stands, the Online Safety Bill will give Ofcom the power to ask tech companies to scan our private messages on the government’s behalf.

“Despite having cross party support, the opposition withdrew an amendment that would at least ensure judges have oversight over these powers for government-mandated surveillance.

“The government claims it will protect encryption but has still not provided detail about how this is possible if these powers are enacted. It is now left to tech companies, who may have to deal with notices asking them to weaken the security of their products.”

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Pam Cowburn
Head of Communications and Campaigns

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