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UK Government Proposes Digital Harms Legislation to Regulate Online Content

April 12, 2019 / Kevin Townsend

Two of the most powerful Ministers in the UK government, the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the secretary of state for the Home Department, have published a document, titled Online Harms White Paper, designed to control content on the internet. Technically, this is a consultation document open to public comment until July 1, 2019; but it clearly forms the basis of intended legislation: "Following the publication of the Government Response to the consultation, we will bring forward legislation when parliamentary time allows." The document (PDF) describes a new internet regulatory regime designed to prevent online abuse of children, vulnerable people, and even democracy (fake news). It takes its lead from the EU's GDPR, and even proposes an independent regulator similar in vein to the GDPR regulator (the Information Commissioner's Office -- ICO). If this becomes law, it will have ramifications for the entire global internet. The ba...