The UK government is drafting a legislation that would allow the government to establish an internet regulation that would make tech firms liable for the content that they publish on their platforms and retain the power to sanction those companies that fail to take down illegal material and content that can propagate hate within hours.
The The UK government will publish a White paper that layouts its proposal to create a regulatory body similar to Ofcom (a body that regulates broadcasters and telecoms companies)
The White paper is recommended to reform electoral law for the digital age and will include the rules and responsibilities about advertising on political matters, enable greater transparency around online advertising, allow the body to forcibly remove websites that contain hate speech under a certain time period and punish them with various penalties.
Apart from hate speech they seek to punish social networks that have terror content and distribute child abuse images. They will also review and restrict advertisements for food products that contain high doses of salt, fat or sugar.
There was a promise made to regulate the Internet but got buried in the Conversative’s manifesto developed for last year’s election. “Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,” the manifesto stated. “We disagree.” The government is still considering all options and determining their power to enforce the recommendations detailed in the White paper.
Ofcom had called upon several tech companies to be regulated in the same way they regulate mobile phones and said “The boundaries between broadcasting and the online world are being redrawn. This has implications for the public’s understanding of what protections apply online, versus traditional media,” White said, arguing that “certain principles from broadcasting regulation could be relevant as policymakers consider issues around online protection”.
“This winter we will publish a White Paper, setting out new laws to tackle the full range of online harms and set clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe,” they said. “We are considering all options, including what legislation will be necessary and whether a regulator is needed.” a government spokesperson mentioned to news agencies that the paper will published in Winter of this year.