Maximum penalty of up to two years in prison.
The UK’s Online Safety Bill, a sweeping online censorship law that’s currently making its way through Parliament, will force Big Tech platforms to censor some categories of content that the government has deemed to be “harmful” and will introduce new criminal offenses for posts that are deemed to cause “harm” without a “reasonable excuse.” The bill gives the Secretary of State new powers to brand some content as harmful and platforms that fall under the scope of the bill’s regulations have to prevent children from encountering this content and allow adults to “increase their control over harmful content.”
Not only does the badly-written Online Safety Bill base most of its censorship requirements and these new criminal offenses on the vague term harm but it also ambiguously extends beyond the idea of physical harm to the realm of what it calls “psychological” harm. As if the definitions are not far-reaching enough, it further demands that simply the “risk” or “potential” of harm is to be treated “in the same way as references to harm.”
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