Fifty-seven organisations from nearly every continent on Earth have signed onto a letter urging the UK Government to scrap the exemptions, exceptions and exclusions in the Online Safety Bill.
Instead of exempting certain actors, we want to see robust protections for freedom of expression and other human rights applied equally. The letter also condemns the vast powers given to the Secretary of State under the bill’s framework, and urges the bill to include provisions enabling civil society and researchers to access data in order to assess the true nature and scale of harm online.
We are concerned about the global impacts of the bill, including the potential for it to turn the UK into the world’s “disinformation laundromat” by exempting some of the biggest proponents of disinformation from any sort of oversight – all while regulating the speech of regular people. As written, the bill risks making people less safe online than they are currently, and jeopardises freedom of speech by creating a two-tiered hierarchical internet.
Getting it right is more important than getting it done. The bill must be amended.