The Online Safety Bill

Webzcas

Winter is Coming!
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So lets see a show of hands of those of you that use an app such as WhatsApp to communicate with your friends and family. If you didn't already know, any communication on WhatsApp, unlike the Microsoft owned Skype is encrypted. However, the House of Lords in the UK have given clearance to the Online Safety Bill, which will mean Meta who own WhatsApp will have to remove said encryption.

The drawing up of this legislation by the conservative government here in the UK is to make social media companies more responsible for the content that is posted on their platforms. Which is actually IMO to be applauded, but the dark underbelly of the legislation when you look into the detail is that it will force platforms like WhatsApp to remove the encryption they provide so private chats could be checked for possible criminal content.

What is your take on this? Personally I am not too enamoured by it, neither are Meta who are threatening to remove their Whatsapp app from the UK market, rather than give in to the government's demand.

Yeah I get it, there is bad stuff on the internet and quite rightly criminal content needs to be cracked down on. But this legislation will affect in the main the vast majority of those of us who have legitimate reasons as to why we want to keep our private communications private.

If anything, it will just mean more people will utilise VPN's when at home when they wouldn't normally do so, so as they can continue to use apps such as WhatsApp.

Seems to me a case of the government continuing to ensure the UK remains a Nanny State. We have after all seen what over regulation of the gambling industry here has done, forcing players to play at offshore operations.

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I think it's horse hockey. More nannyism from a bunch of biased folks who don't understand the Internet.

And it's to protect people who are either too stupid or too lazy to do their own research about anything. They read it - they believe it.

My opinion: The UK breeds folks who keep looking at the government to protect them. There isn't much about "it's your fault because you effed up". It's all about how the government needs to babysit grown adults - and to protect everyone from harm. .

I believe in freedom of expression, but I also adhere to creating an environment where folks feel not only wanted, but safe from trolls, flaming, and other nefarious activities. That is called "social responsibility", and that is what I have done here for the past 25 years.

And if these so called social media platforms had an ounce of social responsibility instead of $$$ eyeballs, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
 
I agree with @Casinomeister

The nannying state was born, in my opinion, during the Blair era where any sense of taking responsibility for your actions went out of the window fuelled by the American craze of the "where there is a blame there is a claim" suing culture.

People should look in the mirror and recognise that the person they are looking at is mostly to blame for their actions. Unfortunately many these days refuse to accept this and look elsewhere who they can blame for their failures.
 
We've seen tech companies show complete apathy when it comes to their platforms' content, as many a topic is sundered by malicious users or bots spamming the site with completely unfiltered things, at any given moment.

These host platforms have lost the battle in regulating their users' uploads years ago it seems, not helped by the pandora's box of 'live' footage being enabled. Tik Tok video of an ISIS beheading, anyone?

I'd imagine then that the threat of fines to be all the motivation these companies need to finally pull their socks up - funny how that compels some into action!

Danger is when harmful content's conflated with written speech, given the myriad of ways that could be construed, and how that will be disputed in courts as everyone tries to settle on a 'one size fits all' approach. Hint: There isn't one.

So whilst the obvious dangers are finally being tackled head-on in this bill, mainly due to having been ignored in the first place to a shocking degree and hardly revelatory, I'd be wary of any government-led technocratic censorship muffling free speech and fundamental privacy, masquerading as "for your own good" 🤔

(I got little to worry about - my Social Credit Score's still good, I'm told!)
 
For me, it's another feather in the cap for the control of information.

While I agree many platforms could do more, I have control over what I watch and am a big enough boy to make my own mind up and decide what I believe.

They are silencing open discussion so they can push their narratives. It's not too far removed from when certain books are banned by tyrannical regimes.
 
It will be interesting to see how it is policed. Yeah, WhatsApp et al may exit stage left from the UK, yet many a user will just utilise a VPN to get around the fact that WhatsApp is no longer available in the UK.

Basically we are having our civil liberties removed slowly but surely. What next, a game show like The Running Man?
 
Just seen this on Sky News
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If the government want to do something right and correct. How about individuals like Jon Venables being kept incarcerated for the rest of his days instead of trying to police what law abiding citizens do or can't do?

He has been given more than one chance and broke his previous parole conditions, not that he or Thompson should ever have been released in the first instance. Yet here he is again, up for parole. SMH
 
From the linked article:

"Evidence from witnesses including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements are then given at the hearing.

"The prisoner and witnesses are then questioned at length during the hearing, which often lasts a full day or more."

Is poor Jamie going to speak from the grave?

Load of old bollocks. Life should be life.
 
Government backdoor to encrypted data so everything can be scanned by the authorities? To make everything online safe, especially "for the children".

They got it backwards. The government should protect privacy and ensure all communication and speech is free. Encryption is one of the best ways to achieve this.

This just an Orwellian way of trying to kill a fly with a ballistic missile. And it's not even necessary. A lot of people willingly share their data already saying they have nothing to hide. If that's the case, this should a positive thing to them, I mean it makes everything safer!

Let's remember fact that every free social media provider (and many others) are in the business of collecting and selling data. The UK should do as the Americans do. Just buy the data from the data brokers, no need to worry about some silly legal restrictions.

I personally like privacy and have a fair amount of things I'd like to hide from others.

It is better for a prince to be feared than loved, because love is fickle, while fear is constant.

privacybaby.gif
 
I wonder what this bill will mean in real terms, how our 'adult' [not that content :oops:] internet experience will differ from now.

Will I still be able to question a vaccine the govt insist is very good for me? Or whether a certain 2020 election was all above board.

Surely it comes down to folk deciding whether they want to agree with an official recognised source [bbc, itv, cnn etc..] of information/news/opinion, or feel in their gut something is not right and look for alternative opinions.

It is literally a marketplace, where the msm/govt have all the advantages but still want to nail any competitors and prevent freedom of opinion. [beyond the slight range the msm currently caters for].

I saw ofcom mentioned in a quick browse of the long-winded bill, are they going to be appointed the arbiters of truth on mattters of 'harmful content' for uk citizens?
 
It really does appear as though Ofcom will be overseeing it in its entirety :eek:

"Ofcom will give guidance and set out codes of practice on how in-scope companies can comply with their duties.

Ofcom expects the Online Safety Bill to pass by early 2023, with our powers coming into force two months later. We have set out detailed plans for how we will quickly start to establish the new regime in the first 100 days after the Bill is passed"



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Wait til they introduce their own digital currency and we will see what restrictions are put in place...that would be the final straw for me.
 
It's going to be a dark, dark day when I no longer get to slate Ternur's musical selections in the I'm Currently Listening to thread, and the fuzz come a-callin' :(
 
Ah yes, the "think of the children" act returns once again, and with meaningful opposition removed from the equation they can push through whatever ill-conceived and dangerous legislation they like.

I do think we've gone too far in the other direction as social media platforms have shown a lot of apathy to removing content - some being snail-paced at removing clearly illegal content, and pretty much ignoring anything more nuanced.

Saying that, what we have here is very disturbing:
  • For companies to be able to filter out content, it means they're scanning all this content (and of course some companies already do that - particularly when it comes to advertising revenue). The government wanting tech giants to develop systems for detecting "illegal" content without compromising privacy is clearly contradictory - the question is whether that invasion of privacy is considered acceptable.
  • To be able to "scan encrypted messages" means you have to break or remove the encryption - the illegal bad guys will make use of any backdoor the legal bad guys include.
It will be interesting to see what happens next - we've already seen the proliferation of encrypted transmissions (e.g. HTTPS) over the past 15 years, end-to-end encryption and VPNs are now commonly used, we're now starting to see encrypted DNS enter the mainstream, so I can only assume that arms race continues and those parts of the bill either become completely unenforceable, the companies leave when forced to compromise their own products, or we see more of a push towards decentralised services.

The scary part is, if you combine the worst (theoretical) overreaches of the Snoopers Charter and the worst overreaches of this... you're not a million miles away from Chinese-level censorship and monitoring... :eek:
 
The scary part is, if you combine the worst (theoretical) overreaches of the Snoopers Charter and the worst overreaches of this... you're not a million miles away from Chinese-level censorship and monitoring... :eek:

Having lived/travelled in China numerous times in the past five years, and as someone with some very close friends who are Chinese - it's embarrassing, as a Brit, to realize we no longer have the moral high ground when it comes to criticising the CPC's "Great Firewall" as our own Government is taking us closer to Chinese-level censorship by the day. My only hope is that services (primarily WhatsApp, I guess) are simply too big - and too heavily relied on - that if the new rules were to oulaw the app or require significant change for the end-user we may see SOME pushback.

Unfortunately, privacy-centred technology (OS' like "Tails", for example) are simply too complex - and unecessary most of the time - to ever become mainstream, so the British people will simply become complacent and wind up with non-encrypted apps, or non-encrypted-with-government-backdoors which, for many, are virtually the same thing
 
There's too much money involved so I expect someone somewhere will be paid off, and things just carry on like usual.

Although it means the next generation will also blame every problem they have on the government because they should have monitored every action they took.
 
One could almost be forgiven for thinking China's methods to be somewhat necessary, given their huge population. That's a lot of people and a lot of freedom of thought, a major no-no for the CPC.

Strange then, that Western leaders get positively giddy at copying China's model, with autonomies being eroded and everything becoming a little more centralized, and people are told to fall in line!

Not one to be fully immersed in 'One World Government' & NWO projections, but a lot of these things are coming to pass, whether it be a cashless society, lessening personal expression and mandates to bring already-conscientious citizens to become green(er), or else become a pariah to the state.

Another 36 bank branches are set to close across the UK, and soon we'll conduct everything online.

Should one say the wrong things, you're tainted, and financial establishments may decree you're not worthy to have as a customer. Hell, you could soon enough find yourself unable to buy groceries for not being the ideal citizen (China), and so begins the prejudice.

Many will brush these things off as "but it's just 'that' bro, why you so opposed to it bro?' etc, but it's plain to see these gradual and minor prohibitions are all 'death by a thousand cuts' (clever Chinese reference there) towards wrong-think societal norms.....though I expect the U.S to perhaps be the last true bastion of free speech, and last one to fall.....

If anything, NPCs have already accepted legalized spyware and the surrender of their personal details freely, as one look at Tik Tok dictates. So for all the furore surrounding our privacy, most have willingly sold it down the river for fleeting entertainment, which tells you all you need to know :laugh:
 
One could almost be forgiven for thinking China's methods to be somewhat necessary, given their huge population. That's a lot of people and a lot of freedom of thought, a major no-no for the CPC.

Strange then, that Western leaders get positively giddy at copying China's model, with autonomies being eroded and everything becoming a little more centralized, and people are told to fall in line!

Not one to be fully immersed in 'One World Government' & NWO projections, but a lot of these things are coming to pass, whether it be a cashless society, lessening personal expression and mandates to bring already-conscientious citizens to become green(er), or else become a pariah to the state.

Another 36 bank branches are set to close across the UK, and soon we'll conduct everything online.

Should one say the wrong things, you're tainted, and financial establishments may decree you're not worthy to have as a customer. Hell, you could soon enough find yourself unable to buy groceries for not being the ideal citizen (China), and so begins the prejudice.

Many will brush these things off as "but it's just 'that' bro, why you so opposed to it bro?' etc, but it's plain to see these gradual and minor prohibitions are all 'death by a thousand cuts' (clever Chinese reference there) towards wrong-think societal norms.....though I expect the U.S to perhaps be the last true bastion of free speech, and last one to fall.....

If anything, NPCs have already accepted legalized spyware and the surrender of their personal details freely, as one look at Tik Tok dictates. So for all the furore surrounding our privacy, most have willingly sold it down the river for fleeting entertainment, which tells you all you need to know :laugh:

After living in China, and spending significant time around Chinese friends who are generally ANTI Chinese Government - it's fascinating to learn what's really happening there, and what's not. While it's true, the Western Media does jump on things like the "Chinese Social Credit Score" (largely false, applies to SOME businesses and criminals), they fail to report on what's REALLY going on from the POV of the everyday Chinese.

Try posting content supportive of Ukraine on Weibo (Chinese social media), or even MENTION the Former Foreign Minister who's
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China itself is very much cashlless now; to the point where my (Chinese) friends have been unable to pay at supermarkets when their phone has died, despite having cash on them. Interestingly, they still - in their words - "would do anything they could to leave China and get residency in the UK, US, or the "West" - but they're as suprised as anyone else to see the UK making all of these changes.
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