“Land of the Outlaws”: British politicians urge the federal government to implement stricter guidelines for large tech

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Two teenagers are watching a chat with friends on their smartphone

Ute Grabowsky | Photo library | Getty Images

LONDON – A group of UK lawmakers said Tuesday that “substantial changes” need to be made to the upcoming UK online safety law.

The bill is a new bill designed to make the internet a safer place for the people of the UK

However, some lawmakers fear that the current proposals do not go far enough.

In a report released Tuesday, the UK Parliament’s joint committee on the bill said more crime should fall within the scope of the bill.

“We’re putting a lot more crime on the face of the bill that deals with things like promoting self-harm, racial abuse and other forms of abuse,” Damian Collins, a lawmaker and committee chairman, told CNBC, adding that It It should be clear what responsibility technology companies have.

The regulator should be able to tell tech companies, “These are the minimum standards you need to meet,” and explain what to do in each damage category, Collins added.

The committee also wants online fraud and advertising fraud to be included in the scope of the bill and an ombudsman to be set up to look into individual complaints.

Users should also be able to take tech companies to court if they fail to meet their obligations under the law, Collins said, adding that nominated directors should be prosecuted for failing to disclose or comply with requested information with the act .

“That would be pretty big changes in the way [bill] works, “said Collins.” The key is to take existing crimes and laws and apply them online, and that the regulator has the legal authority to do so.

The committee calls for a wide variety of online activities to be banned, including promoting Internet self-harm, deepfake pornography (AI-generated porn), and addressing epilepsy patients with flashing images on the Internet.

More powers for Ofcom?

The television and radio regulator Ofcom was tasked with regulating the Internet in the UK in February.

The committee said the government should give Ofcom more powers to investigate, audit and fine big tech, adding that the regulator should also be able to set the standards by which big tech is held accountable.

“The era of self-regulation for big tech has come to an end,” said Collins. “Businesses are clearly responsible for the services they design and use and must be held accountable for the decisions they make.”

In other parts of the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office also have the power to impose fines and penalties on technology companies.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok have all been criticized by lawmakers in the UK and other parts of the world for allowing malicious content to be shared on their platforms. They say they are doing their best to remove it, but many lawmakers are unsatisfied.

During the UK investigation, MPs and colleagues heard from victims of online damage, including former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand and TV host Martin Lewis. Facebook whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Sophie Zhang were also involved in the investigation.

The draft law is to be submitted to parliament for approval in 2022.

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