Ofcom’s about to be declared king of all the known internet, as the communications regulator is expected to be granted new powers to control the operations of the many social networks that are currently left to decide amongst themselves what to shrug and leave and what to delete.
It’s the result of the government’s Online Harm consultation, and will see Ofcom asked to take a hand in developing a set of rules to cover what is or is not acceptable content to see scrolling past on your timelines and feeds of unremarkable cat photos and adverts. The plan is to force a “statutory duty of care” on the social networks, enforced by Ofcom, primarily aimed at ensuring swift responses to anything within the terrorist and child abuse categories.
Ofcom will therefore be in charge of the job of “protecting people from harmful content” however that may pan out, with the plan also expected to cover everything from violent imagery to cyber-bullying, and hopefully cracking down on the biggest internet crime of all — people not liking what were demonstrably very good tweets.
The home secretary got involved too, and invoked the p-word so there’s no arguing, and said: “While the internet can be used to connect people and drive innovation, we know it can also be a hiding place for criminals, including paedophiles, to cause immense harm. It is incumbent on tech firms to balance issues of privacy and technological advances with child protection.” [GOV via BBC]
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