UK Online Safety Bill to Exert Pressure on Social Media Execs

British legislators seem ready to make good on a threat to add criminal liability and jail time for high-level social media executives who fail to protect children from online harm as part of the Online Safety Bill. While the bill also aims to protect adults from fraud and malfeasance, its strictest provisions are geared toward child protection. The current proposal could win approval by the House of Commons within the week, and would then move to the upper chamber, the House of Lords, later in the quarter for further revision. Enactment is anticipated by year’s end.
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Online Safety Act Paused as Ofcom Reports on Net Neutrality

UK watchdog Ofcom has proposed a loosening of the nation’s net neutrality rules so as to not unduly restrict innovation and development. While it is up to government and Parliament to change the law, recommendations from Ofcom — which was created to monitor compliance with net neutrality laws — are influential. “Since the current rules were put in place in 2016, there have been significant developments in the online world, including a surge in demand for capacity,” as well as the rollout of 5G, and the emergence of large players like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Continue reading Online Safety Act Paused as Ofcom Reports on Net Neutrality

Canada Revives Bill to Up Local Content on Digital Platforms

Canada is taking steps to ensure that digital platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify adequately represent Canadian artists for users who log in from a Canadian IP address. In an effort to protect Canada’s cultural identity, the nation’s television and radio broadcasters are required to fill a local content quota as a licensing condition, and the new bill — which passed the lower house of Parliament last week — would create a similar mandate for digital platforms, said Canada’s minister of heritage Pablo Rodriguez. The bill, C-11, awaits approval by the Senate to become law. Continue reading Canada Revives Bill to Up Local Content on Digital Platforms

Criminal Liability Will Be Added to the UK’s Online Safety Bill

Big Tech executives may find themselves facing UK prosecution or jail time sooner than expected as the target date for Online Safety Bill (OSB) enforcement collapses to within two months of becoming law, rather than the two years originally proposed. Several new offenses have been added to the bill, including criminal liability for those who destroy evidence, fail to cooperate with Ofcom investigations or impede regulatory inspections. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube can all expect audits for the sort of harmful content the OSB seeks to address. Continue reading Criminal Liability Will Be Added to the UK’s Online Safety Bill

Australian Law Will Allow Agencies to Circumvent Encryption

In the United States, Congress has resisted calls by the FBI and Department of Justice that would require tech companies to create a “back door” to allow them to bypass devices’ encryption. But other U.S. allies are moving forward on just such legislation, with Australia about to adopt a tough encryption law permitting intelligence agencies these powers. The country believes that its agencies need the power to circumvent encryption to protect it from terrorist attacks during the holiday season, often a high-threat period. Continue reading Australian Law Will Allow Agencies to Circumvent Encryption

Internal Emails Reveal the Way Facebook Treated Companies

Based on 250 pages of internal Facebook emails and documents from 2012 to 2015 and released by a U.K. parliamentary committee, it’s been revealed that Facebook used its massive cache of data to favor some companies, such as Airbnb and Netflix with “special access,” and punish others by cutting them off. Further, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were closely involved in decisions to “increase sharing back into Facebook” and other moves to primarily benefit the company. Continue reading Internal Emails Reveal the Way Facebook Treated Companies

India Concerned Over Dominance of U.S. Internet Companies

Some Indian leaders are resisting the dominance of U.S. Internet platforms and services such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, Google’s Android mobile operating system and Amazon’s e-commerce business, calling it a form of colonialism and vowing to regulate these foreign companies, especially regarding what they do with users’ personal data and how they might undercut prices offered by local businesses. India’s smartphone market, second largest in the world, is dominated by offerings from China, Taiwan and South Korea. Continue reading India Concerned Over Dominance of U.S. Internet Companies

Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

China has adopted a broad and controversial cybersecurity law that places new requirements on tech companies, which foreign businesses fear may be used to negatively affect competition. The law, designed to tighten state control over technology and information while ramping up online security, addresses areas such as data storage, technical support, censorship and government certification of hardware. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The law drew criticism from foreign business groups due to the expansive list of sectors that are defined as part of China’s ‘critical information infrastructure,’ making sectors including telecommunications, energy, transportation, information services and finance subject to security checks.” Continue reading Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law