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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

Is the Online Safety Bill a danger to freedom of expression?

Is the Online Safety Bill a danger to freedom of expression?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.

The Online Safety Bill was originally conceived to protect everyone from harmful online content. Tech firms, by law would be required to actively prevent the proliferation of illegal material, and to introduce specific new criminal sanctions for users who post extremist material. 

This sounds like a good plan – but the Bill also proposes criminalising ‘legal but harmful’ content. If it passes, it’ll be up to Ofcom to decide what that means, which clearly could have significant consequences for journalists, activists and ordinary users alike. Critics are concerned that the Bill is too soft on the companies, too. A Committee has been gathering evidence on the latest draft of the Bill and will publish its response to that evidence on 10 December. So what is and isn’t in it, and what happens next?¬†

editor and invited experts

Emily Benn

Jim Killock
Executive Director, Open Rights Group

Matt d’Ancona
Editor and Partner, Tortoise

Silkie Carlo
Director, Big Brother Watch