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Tag: Graham Smith (Page 1 of 5)

The Pocket Online Safety Bill – Graham Smith

New protections for children and free speech added to internet laws - GOV.UKAssailed from all quarters for being not tough enough, for being too tough, for being fundamentally misconceived, for threatening freedom of expression, for technological illiteracy, for threatening privacy, for excessive Ministerial powers, or occasionally for the sin of not being some other Bill entirely – and yet enjoying almost universal cross-party Parliamentary support – the UK’s Online Safety Bill is now limping its way through the House of Lords. It starts its Committee stage on 19 April 2023. Continue reading

Harm Version 4.0: the Online Safety Bill in metamorphosis, Part III, Strand 4 and What is a duty of care? – Graham Smith

Strand 4 involves the creation of new and reformed criminal offences that would apply directly to users,  in parallel with the government’s proposals for an online duty of care, the Law Commission has been conducting two projects looking at the criminal law as it affects online and other communications: Modernising Communications Offences (Law Com No 399, 21 July 2021); Hate Crime Laws (LawCom No 402, 7 December 2021). Continue reading

Harm Version 4.0: the Online Safety Bill in metamorphosis, Part II, Strands 2 and 3 – Graham Smith

The most heavily debated aspect of the government’s proposals has been, Strand 2,  the ‘legal but harmful content’ duty. In the draft Bill this comes in two versions: a substantive duty to mitigate user content harmful to children; and a transparency duty in relation to user content harmful to adults. That, at any rate, appears to be the government’s political intention. As drafted, the Bill could be read as going further and imposing a substantive ‘content harmful to adults’ duty (something that at least some of the Committees want the legislation explicitly to do). Continue reading

Harm Version 4.0: the Online Safety Bill in metamorphosis, Part I, Introduction and Strand 1 – Graham Smith

It is time – in fact it is overdue – to take stock of the increasingly imminent Online Safety Bill. The two months before and after Christmas saw a burst of activity: Reports from the Joint Parliamentary Committee scrutinising the draft Bill, from the Commons DCMS Committee on the ‘Legal but Harmful’ issue, and from the House of Commons Petitions Committee on Tackling Online Abuse. Continue reading

Speech versus Speech: Some reflections on Freedom of Expression – Graham Smith

Can something that I write in this blog restrict someone else’s freedom of expression?  According to the UK government, yes. In its Full Response to the Online Harms White Paper the government suggested that under the proposed legislation user redress mechanisms to be provided by platforms would enable users to “challenge content that unduly restricts their freedom of expression”. Continue reading

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