Online Safety Bill - I am proud to sit on the draft bill committee for what it set to be one of THE pivotal pieces of legislation that will pass through parliament in our lifetime.
Please do read on:
This week I spent 24 hours in Brussels meeting with officials from Interpol and European Think Tanks as part of my role on the draft online safety bill.
The Bill will quite possibly be the most important piece of legislation to pass through Parliament because of its far-reaching implications, and it is much needed.
It is intended to protect our children, to remove illegal content online and make platforms respond to content that is legal, but which is harmful. The bill is novel and ground-breaking, and the world is watching what we are doing.
Sitting on this draft bill committee has really opened my eyes to the enormous issues and danger we face online and with social media.
Over the last five weeks I have heard harrowing evidence from the Epilepsy Society, Ian Russel whose daughter, Molly, killed herself after viewing disturbing images on Instagram, ex-footballer Rio Ferdinand and the Facebook whistle blower Frances Haugen, to name but a few.
Disturbing evidence that highlights that there are those online who share flashing images with intent to induce epileptic seizures, provide teenage children with the information on how to self-harm or indeed kill themselves, and the cesspit of racial abuse and misogyny that is often social media.
Then we have antivax misinformation, far right videos, animal cruelty – the list is very big.
We heard compelling evidence from the whistle blower that Facebook is operated for the shareholders’ interest and not for the public interest – with an unwillingness to sacrifice “even a little sliver of profit “to boost users’ safety.
It was all important evidence that has really highlighted how much there is the need for this Bill particularly to protect our children.
I do, however, question why any responsible company would not try to take down harmful content as soon as possible.
The Bill proper will be presented to parliament in the near future. Please take an interest in it, if you have time.