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23/01/2023 21:00:24  

Ofcom says it is looking into whether two BT companies, EE and Plusnet, have breached rules.
23/01/2023 13:00:22  

The watchdog received 705 objections about the ITV commentator's World Cup comments about Qatar.
17/01/2023 16:59:50  

The United Kingdom wants to become the safest place for children to grow up online. Many UK lawmakers have argued that the only way to guarantee that future is to criminalize tech leaders whose platforms knowingly fail to protect children. From a report: Today, the UK House of Commons reached a deal to appease those lawmakers, Reuters reports, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government agreeing to modify the Online Safety Bill to ensure its passage. It now appears that tech company executives found to be "deliberately" exposing children to harmful content could soon risk steep fines and jail time of up to two years. The agreement was reached during the safety bill's remaining stages before a vote in the House of Commons. Next, it will move on to review by the House of Lords, where the BBC reports it will "face a lengthy journey." Sunak says he will revise the bill to include new terms before it reaches the House of Lords, where lawmakers will have additional opportunities to revise the wording. Reports say that tech executives responsible for platforms hosting user-generated content would only be liable if they fail to take "proportionate measures" to prevent exposing children to harmful content, such as materials featuring child sexual abuse, child abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm. Some measures that tech companies can take to avoid jail time and fines of up to 10 percent of a company's global revenue include adding age verification, providing parental controls, and policing content. If passed, the Online Safety Bill would make managers liable for holding tech companies to their own community guidelines, including content and age restrictions. If a breach of online safety duties is discovered, UK media regulator Ofcom would be responsible for prosecuting tech leaders who fail to respond to enforcement notices. Anyone found to be acting in good faith to police content and protect kids reportedly won't be prosecuted.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

13/01/2023 13:59:29  

Downing Street has said it is considering a Tory-backed amendment to the online safety bill that would allow for the imposing of jail sentences on social media bosses who are found not to have protected children's safety. The Guardian reports: No 10 said on Thursday it was open to the proposal, which is backed by at least 36 Conservative MPs including the former home secretary Priti Patel and the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith. The amendment would give Ofcom, the communications watchdog, the power to prosecute executives at social media companies that are found to have breached the law. If ministers include it in the bill, it will mark the third time the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has bowed to the demands of his backbenchers, after U-turns on planning and onshore windfarms. The bill is aimed at cracking down on a range of online content that ministers believe is causing serious harm to users and was informed in part by the testimony of Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee who accused the company of repeatedly putting profits ahead of user safety. The bill will force companies to remove any content promoting self-harm, depicting sexual violence or facilitating suicide. It will also require companies to impose and enforce strict age limits and to publish assessments of the risks their platforms pose to young people. As it is currently written, the bill gives Ofcom the power to levy fines on companies of up to 10% of their global turnover for breaches in the law. Ofcom will be able to prosecute executives only if they fail to cooperate with an investigation. This has upset many Conservative MPs, however, who believe the regulator should be given tougher powers. The amendment, which has been signed by 37 MPs overall, would allow Ofcom to prosecute individual executives if they were proved to have connived with or consented to breaking the elements of the bill designed to protect children's safety. Judges would be allowed to impose prison sentences of up to two years. [...] Other changes to the bill, which has its report and third reading stage in the House of Commons next week, include altering earlier plans to tackle content seen by adults that is harmful but falls below the threshold of criminality, such as cyberbullying and sexist and racist material. Tech companies will be required to state clearly in their terms and conditions how they will moderate such content. Users will also be given the option of asking to have such content screened out when they are on social media platforms. A Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday: "Our aim is to hold to account social media platforms for harmful content, while also ensuring the UK remains a great place to invest and grow a tech business. We are confident we can achieve both of these things. We will carefully consider all the proposed amendments to the online safety bill and set out the position when report stage continues."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

13/01/2023 09:59:26  

With the Online Safety Bill is back in parliament next week, Conservative rebels have picked an amendment to give Ofcom the powers prosecute social media executives – with jail time as a possible sentence – as their latest battle. When the amendment was put to Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan by the BBC’s Newscast, she said she was “not ruling out” any changes, adding she would take a “sensible approach”. […] Read the rest

15/12/2022 16:54:57  

One in five mobile phones is now capable of using 5G, but some consumers say speed is disappointing.