Online Safety Bill to return to Parliament next month | Internet security

The Internet Safety Bill will return to Parliament in December, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Penny MordauntHe sure did.

The bill’s future has been in doubt since his resignation Boris Johnson was forced to withdraw her from the papers in the summer. Now, with the fourth Prime Minister and seventh Secretary of the DCMS since it was first proposed in the Internet Harms White Paper, the bill is likely to be enacted in this Parliament.

Like Liz Truss before him, Rishi Sunak has been lukewarm in his support for the bill, publicly endorsing the general aims of the legislation, but expressing skepticism about specific elements of the proposed law that some in the Conservative Party see as legislation to “hurt” the “feelings”, such as clauses that force action on so-called legal but harmful content.

The government has not yet confirmed what changes will be made to the bill. Damian Collins, one of the main backers of the bill in its current form, resigned as Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy in October, and was succeeded by Paul Sculley.

Child safety groups welcomed her back. Susie Hargreaves, CEO, Inc Internet The Watch Foundation, which coordinates action against images of child abuse online, described the reinstatement of the bill as a “relief”. “We have seen that the threats to people, particularly children, online are not going away, and we know there will be a need for strong and clear action if the UK is to realize its goal of being the safest place in the world to go online.

Now, we need to see lawmakers come together to achieve a common goal. The police, charities and big tech companies are all doing a tremendous amount of work, and clear guidance from the government would be a welcome boost.

“The Internet Watch Foundation stands ready to be part of the regulatory solution for the dissemination of child sexual abuse material online. We look forward to more clarity and working with MPs to make sure children are protected.”

The National Commission for Preventing and Combating Corruption called for the bill to be passed “without further delay”. “It is critical that any changes in legislation do not allow tech companies to off the hook or undermine government promises to strengthen protections for children,” added company spokeswoman Hannah Roshen, who is responsible for children’s online safety policy.

But other groups have called for the bill to be scrapped. The Open Rights Group says it is not fit for purpose, and threatens the freedom of expression of UK citizens. Jim Killock, CEO, said it was “threatening 40 million WhatsApp users and other messengers with the constant monitoring of their private messages.”

“It will create a culture of everyday censorship that will disproportionately remove content from vulnerable, disadvantaged and minority communities while claiming to protect them. It needs a complete rethink.”

News of the re-submission of the bill broke the day 70 organizations and experts He signed an open letter to Sunak Expressing concern that the bill could become an attack on cryptography.

The letter states that “encryption is critical to ensuring the protection of internet users online, building economic security through a pro-business UK economy that can overcome the cost-of-living crisis, and to ensuring national security,” and calls for clauses that could undermine technology to be removed from the bill. .

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