Charity boss casts doubt on Tories’ claim that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg could be jailed
MARK Zuckerberg could end up in jail if Facebook fails to comply with new online safety laws, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said – but the NSPCC’s online child safety policy manager has responded that it doesn’t. was not the case.
Nadine Dorries has warned that she is putting social media giants such as Facebook on notice with her online safety bill, which she hopes will force online giants to act on illegal content.
On Friday, it was announced that the long-awaited bill had been strengthened with the addition of a number of new criminal offenses to force social media companies to act more quickly on illegal content.
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Offenses such as revenge pornography, hate crimes, fraud, selling illegal drugs or weapons, promoting or facilitating suicide, human trafficking and sexual exploitation have been added to the list priority offenses and, as such, must be removed by platforms falling under the new rules.
Under the new rules, senior executives of online platforms could end up in jail if they fail to act, Dorries said.
Speaking to Times Radio, the Culture Secretary was asked if Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg could end up behind bars if his company, which owns Facebook, fails to comply.
She said she hoped the bill would be a “notice to online platforms to say it’s here, we’re letting you know what it is now, so start doing what you need to do”.
When asked again if senior executives could end up in jail if they don’t comply, she replied, “Absolutely.”
But Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC, said that was not the case.
He said: “Despite the rhetoric, the UK government’s current proposals mean that tech bosses would not be personally liable for the harmful effects of their algorithms or their failure to prevent grooming, and could only be sued for having failed to provide information to the regulator.
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“It is clear that unless the Online Safety Bill is sufficiently strengthened, the criminal penalties offer barking but not biting. Children need well-designed regulations that learn from other sectors if the bill is to match the rhetoric and prevent inherently preventable abuse.
Dorries also dismissed the idea of online age verification as young people use the internet to shop for clothes.
Asked why the measure was not being considered, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We are looking at age verification but what I would say about age verification age is that there is also a downside to it.
“This means that all children accessing the internet must verify their age and all young people.
“And young people are going online to shop, you know, on clothes.
“Do we need to make sure they verify their age when they do? »
The strengthened bill means that while sites were previously required to remove this content after it was reported to them by users, they would now be required to be proactive and work to prevent users from encountering this content first.
The UK government has said naming these offenses on the bill’s face also allows proposed regulator Ofcom to take faster enforcement action against companies that don’t remove it.
The changes come after three separate parliamentary committee reports warned that the bill needed to be strengthened and made clearer to tech companies about what was expected of them if it was to offer adequate protection.
“This government has said it will legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online while guaranteeing freedom of expression, and that is exactly what we are going to do,” said Dorries.
“Our world-leading Bill will protect children from abuse and harm online, protecting the most vulnerable from accessing harmful content and ensuring there is no safe space where terrorists can hide online.”
Three new criminal offences, recommended by the Law Commission, are also to be added to the Bill in a bid to bring criminal law into the internet age, the UK government has said.
The new offenses cover communications sent to convey a threat of serious harm; those sent to cause harm without a reasonable excuse; and those sent that are known to be false with intent to cause non-trivial emotional, psychological, or physical harm.
Damian Collins, chairman of the joint committee on the online bill that led the review of the bill, said he welcomed the changes and that they would benefit users.
Meanwhile, the Labor Party has called for the bill to be further strengthened with tougher penalties for senior company executives who breach new online safety laws.
Lucy Powell, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said: ‘Online safety and security should be a top priority for the Government, but the Tories have spent years dragging their feet, allowing dangerous and illegal content to proliferate. online not to be checked.
“The Online Safety Bill is too weak to make big tech companies sit up and take heed, and make sure hate, crime and child abuse are stamped out around the world. in line.
“Regulator Ofcom will take on some of the biggest tech companies in the world.
“It’s a David and Goliath situation, and Ofcom must have access to the full range of tools at its fingertips, including holding big bosses criminally liable for failing to tackle damage online. ”