New internet regulator in UK; Twitter, FB and YouTube put on notice

The United Kingdom is all set to tighten its vigilance over cybersecurity issues that plague not just the country but the world as a whole. The govt. has announced many new plans dictating the internet regulations in the country. UK’s current broadcast regulator Ofcom will be assigned with the task of enforcing the new rules, which hopefully will also involve the power to impose fine on those web-based tech companies that refuse to comply such as Facebook and Twitter.

It should be known that the full details have not been disclosed by the Government. A lot still needs to be known about the complete working of the broadcast regulator Ofcom. At the moment, even reach and powers of the regulatory authority is not known. The full information regarding the new legislation which has been tabled will soon be made public. As per the preliminary information, the details will be revealed later in this spring season itself.

As per The Guardian, there are two important highlights of the proposal. The first talks about the removal of illegal content, which has served as the chief menace for long. The list of illegal content is visibly long and often ambiguous, but prominent among them includes videos, images, posts, and other forms of content that are grossly violating, such as the content that displays child sexual abuse or reinforces, encourages, and promotes terrorism. The content of this segment will be dealt very strictly with.

Such types of content have been proposed to be removed as soon as possible. In fact, the proposals enumerate the need for having a system in place which puts apt checks and measures so as to demotivate people from posting such content online in the first place. This, the proposal expects, would act as a deterrent and prevent the new cases to a big extent. However, the country is not a first-timer when it comes to planning internet vigilance!

Just the previous year, the country had been working to develop its prototype of Government enacted control over the internet. The plans and proposals had been delayed for long, after which they were finally brought to the table. But, the plans which mandated the need for verification of age were greeted with a string of criticisms and were not received well. This bid to regulate content over the internet was a failure, suffice to say.

This prototype of the country’s Government was behest with privacy issues, as well as trying to exert control over the main porn establishment, namely MindGeek. This was the same conglomerate that was vested with the authority to provide the system for the verification of people’s ages.

Now categorizing content has its own challenges. It is so because there is neither there can be a single interpretation of a given content, nor there is a proper authority to delineate what is acceptable and what is illegal. All that content, which is just “harmful,” but not illegal will have to be dealt with in a different way. There would be the requirement of multiple online platforms to outline what behavior and posts are acceptable and what are absolutely not over their websites.

Transparent and consistent enforcement of rules is required. This segment of unacceptable content would include all the content that can motivate and ease any tendency of self-inflicted harm or even suicidal tendencies. The need to have apt space for the movement of free speech and freedom of the press will be respectfully considered. The govt. has stated that flexibility is needed to protect users’ rights over the internet.

The existing broadcast regulator Ofcom which will be regulating the rules, said in an official statement, “We share the Government’s ambition to keep people safe online and welcome that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the online harms regulator. We will work with the Government to help ensure that regulation provides effective protection for people online and, if appointed, will consider what voluntary steps can be taken in advance of legislation.”

Rosa Margaret

Rosa Margaret is a Senior Architect who plays a role of designing, planning and developing different projects for her firm. She is highly skilled in analyzing blueprints, sketches, and models for environmental and safety issues. She loves to do gardening in her free time which is quite evident in her exquisitely maintained backyard.

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