The Centre for Policy Studies has today released a new briefing note, ‘The Online Safety Bill – What’s Changed?’, in response to the announcement earlier this week by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport of amendments to the Online Safety Bill. The bulletin analyses some of the most noteworthy changes and takes into account what problems remain with the Bill.
Authored by CPS Head of Tech and Innovation, Matthew Feeney, the note welcomes some of the reforms to the Bill but argues that ‘fundamental flaws remain in the legislation’.
The analysis welcomes changes to the Bill in the light of criticisms from the CPS and others, in particular the decision to remove the idea of ‘legal but harmful’ speech. However, it notes that many of the concerns outlined in the CPS papers ‘A Censor’s Charter?’ and ‘Safety Without Censorship’ still remain. These include limiting free speech through content moderation, the potential to weaken end-to-end encrypted messaging, and reduced competition in the social media market.
Matthew Feeney, CPS Head of Tech and Innovation, said:
‘While it is reassuring that the Government has implemented changes to the Bill, the legislation continues to pose a threat to free speech, privacy, and competition. We are grateful that the Government has listened to its critics, but urge it to do more to ensure that free speech is at the heart of the Bill.’