Conservative MPs do not support the addition of “health false alarms” to online safety bills

A British politician on the Commission discussing an online safety bill proposed by the British government includes “health-related misinformation and false information” as a recognized form of legal but “harmful” speech. I tried to add a fix like this.

June 14, Conservative Minister Chris Philp Said The government agrees “with the intent behind the amendment” but will not support the amendment.

“We agree with the intent behind the amendment, but the way to handle it is not to randomly drop the item on the invoice and leave the rest to the statutory document. Disinformation, especially Addressing harmful disinformation related to health is important and valuable, but accepts amendments as there are many other important things that may be added as legal but harmful to adults. No, “Philp said. ..

Social media platforms are expected to be forced to remove content that is considered harmful by a wide range of online safety bills and protect freedom of speech.

SNP John Nicholson and Kirsty Blackman, Labor Party Alex Davis Jones and Barbara Kiel said the bill “must contain content that contains false or disinformation related to health, and such content is harmful to adults. I added the correction that said.

In 2020, during a pandemic, Labor called for an emergency law to “eliminate” “dangerous” vaccination content online.

write in FlockMark Johnson, Legal and Policy Officer at Big Brother Watch, a watchman of free speech, added “health misinformation” to the online safety bill as a category of legal but “harmful” speech. “There is a risk of opening Pandora’s censorship box,” he warned.

He used a medical example that attracted attention when Facebook’s “fact checker” distrusted Spectator’s article written by Oxford scholar Carl Heneghan and challenged the effectiveness of the mask. He pointed out that the consensus will change dramatically.

At the time, Toby Young, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Spectator and General Secretary of the Freedom of Speech, I told Marged Nawas at LBC Facebook was “censorship and authoritarian.”

“The terms” false alarm “and” disinformation “have become part of the political glossary in recent years,” Johnson said. “The concept of being wrong or misleading is left behind in another term and is loaded with meaning.”

“Nevertheless, they are adaptable terms and are often developed in a way that damages or silences the discussions of other individuals in the course of public debate,” he added.

Philp said the department in charge of the bill, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), is working to “develop a strong operational response to this issue.”

“We have set up a disinformation unit within DCMS, whose mission is to identify false information and work with social media companies to remove it,” he added.

A DCMS spokesman told the Epoch Times that the bill “does not suppress online rights and freedoms.”

“Target companies need to engage in criminal activity and protect their children, but the bill does not require that legal content accessed by adults be removed or controlled,” he said. ..

“The bill includes free speech, political debate, and rigorous targeted safeguards for journalism, allowing users to sue for illegal removal of content,” he adds. I did.

In May, media law guru Gavin Millar QC gave a legal opinion on the Index on Censorship, a free speech campaign group, and the UK government’s next online safety bill for everyone using the Internet. He said he would significantly reduce his freedom of speech under the influence of. Representation in a way that has serious consequences.

“One misunderstood post or excessive algorithm can have serious consequences for how British citizens communicate with friends and family and save valuable memories,” Millar said.

Lily Zhou contributed to the report.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist who covers stories from a wide range of countries with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.

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