UK Govt. wants a crack at policing the internet, leaked proposals reveal

The UK is reportedly proposing the formation of a new internet regulatory body with wide-reaching powers to tackle illegal content, hate speech and online abuse.

The regulatory body would have the ability to punish social networks and other tech companies for failing to remove content within a specific amount of time following publication online, according to leaked government documents.

Buzzfeed claims to have seen a draft of the proposals, which also include plans for a compulsory code of conduct for web companies and a more effective age verification system for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The proposed legislation, which is set to be officially announced before the end of the year, would spin off internet responsibilities from Ofcom, according to the report. The proposals are being drafted by the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

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Recently, Home Secretary Sajid Javid demanded tech companies take more action against child sexual abuse online. Javid claimed it was his “personal mission” to tackle the abuse and threatened tech companies to take “more measures” or be subjected to new legislation. Today’s report appears to outline what form that legislation might take.

Strict takedown times

The introduction of strict “takedown times” for child abuse as well as terrorism, hate speech and other content falls under the broad banner of “social harms” could result in punitive sanctions on content providers who fail to take timely action, the report says.

The government is looking at recently-introduced German law, which fines tech giants a staggering 50 million euros if hate speech posts aren’t removed within 24 hours.

The report says the government is also considering setting up an advertising regulator specifically for online ads.

“We are considering all options, including what legislation will be necessary and whether a regulator is needed,” a government spokesperson says.

Would you welcome the government’s involvement in policing the internet? Do you think it’d have further negative affect on user privacy and freedom of expression? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter?

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