TechScape: UK parliament pushes back on the online safety bill
Up for discussion in this weekâ€™s newsletter: why a cross-party committee wants a total rework of legislation to rein in the online â€˜wild westâ€™
The digital wild west met its sheriff this week. The joint committee on the online safety bill announced on Tuesday that it was reining in the tech industryâ€™s â€œland of the lawlessâ€ with its report on the pioneering legislation. Unveiling the document, the committeeâ€™s Conservative chair, Damian Collins MP, said: â€œThe Committee were unanimous in their conclusion that we need to call time on the wild west online.â€
The 192-page report recommends a sweeping overhaul of the bill, which is aimed at companies that provide user-generated content â€“ ie social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and video sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok â€“ as well as search engines like Google. The bill imposes a duty of care on tech firms to protect users from harmful content, at the risk of a substantial fine brought by Ofcom, the communications industry regulator implementing the act.