UK parliament released an Online Safety bill

CIO Review Europe | Tuesday, February 09, 2021

A report with suggestions for improving the draft Online Safety Bill is released by  the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of Parliament in the UK

FREMONT, CA: In the United Kingdom, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of Parliament issued a report with suggestions for improving the draft Online Safety Bill. The audit found that it did not address the numerous sorts of illegal and dangerous content on user-to-user and search services. One major flaw was that the concept of harm and, as a result, the content that might be addressed under the measure was ambiguous. This could lead to a situation in which lawful content is subjected to excessive takedowns by overly cautious online organizations, while more insidious content, such as images of abuse, are still permitted to remain online. The bill is still in draft form, and the government is expected to produce a revised bill in the coming months, despite initially taking a defensive approach in response to the report's conclusions.

The European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations with the Council and Commission, taking the proposed Digital Services Act (DSA) one step closer to becoming law in the EU. The DSA is part of the EU's package of measures to prevent unlawful and harmful online content by regulating the actions of intermediate services, mainly online businesses offering services in the EU, for a UK audience less familiar with the EU's initiatives in this sector such as internet service providers, cloud services, messaging, marketplaces, or social networks. The DSA is meant to supplement rather than replace the larger regulations of the existing E-Commerce Directive, which are also already part of UK law.

The DSA would prohibit online intermediaries from using tracking walls. Existing EU data protection law, which, in the perspective of European authorities, already prohibits the use of cookie walls, would be supplemented by this, but focused more explicitly on digital advertising rather than the more general usage of cookies. This is clearly a proposal that prioritizes privacy, although numerous online platforms seem to rely on these mechanisms. The use of sensitive data in targeted advertising such as data relating to sexual orientation, race, or ethnic origin, would be prohibited.

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