UK Parliament passes Online Safety Bill

The Online Safety Bill is passed by the UK Parliament and will become law soon. With Ofcom having the authority to scan messages for illegal material concerns over privacy and security are raised.

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On 19 September, the UK Parliament passed the Online Safety Bill and is now ready to become law. The Act gives Ofcom the authority to assess fines for violations and forces platforms to scan messages for illegal content, generating debate over the possible implications on internet privacy and security.

Experts warn of encryption and privacy problems, and there are concerns that popular services would leave the UK if the law remains unchanged. Online services’ need to certify the age of users accessing specific material may result in an older internet environment. Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, regards the bill as a possible instrument for censorship. The UK’s new web content sheriff welcomes the bill’s passing.

Dame Melanie Davies, Director of Ofcom, emphasized the importance of this regulation in ensuring a safer online environment for children and adults in the UK. She noted that she would consult on the initial requirements that technology firms must satisfy in the battle against illicit online damage, such as child sexual exploitation and fraud.