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UK’s absurdly misnamed Online Safety Bill is an abomination

In an open letter, 68 security and privacy researchers warned the draft legislation will profoundly undermine the essential security used to keep digital communications secure.

We note that in the event of the Online Safety Bill passing and an Ofcom order being issued, several international communication providers indicated that they will refuse to comply with such an order to compromise the security and privacy of their customers and would leave the UK market. This would leave UK residents in a vulnerable situation, having to adopt compromised and weak solutions for online interactions.

As independent information security and cryptography researchers, we build technologies that keep people safe online. It is in this capacity that we see the need to stress that the safety provided by these essential technologies is now under threat in the Online Safety Bill.

Free speech and privacy are under attack worldwide and particularly in the UK.

9 comments to UK’s absurdly misnamed Online Safety Bill is an abomination

  • This is a problem with much legislation in the UK, the assumption that widely used American services would not yank the plug on their UK business operations for “Reasons…”.

    Why should an American company like Twitter or Facebook make any concessions to the UK government? In their view it is UK residents using American services, not the other way around.

    So if UK Gov insists on pushing their draconian agenda on those who have no substantial presence in the UK, then they have every right to put up an IP wall saying “Due to UK legislation which violates free speech, this service is no longer open to UK residents”.

    Why not.

  • Paul Marks.

    Yes – the “Online Safety” Bill is an abomination.

    Does it undermine what is left of liberty? Yes it does.

    Do Members of Parliament know that? Yes they do.

    Will most of them vote it? Most likely yes they will.

    It is much the same with “Digital Money” – that is not a thing of the far future, it is basically here already, most “money” is already just lights on computer screens.

    “But this means that the powerful can manipulate money, that they have a stranglehold on the economic life of everyone else. And it is also means that privacy, liberty, is going to be destroyed – with every transaction (every act of buying or selling) open to the view of the state and the financial entities (banks-and-so-on)”.

    Yes – the international establishment already know all this, and to them it is “a feature – not a bug”.

    Modern international policy (DEI, ESG, “Online Safety”, Digital Money) can be summed up in one word – liberticide.

  • Steven R

    It sure would have been nice if Liz would have occasionally said “no” to the ministers in Parliaments that kept chipping away at the freedoms the Brits (and Aussies and Kiwis and Canucks) had.

  • Paul Marks.

    John Galt.

    Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook and so on) is fully on board with the international agenda of liberticide.

    Elon Musk (Twitter) says he is against the international agenda of liberticide – but we shall have to see.

    However, government interventions can sometimes have interesting outcomes – especially when money is involved.

    For example, the Canadian regime (and the word “regime” is fully justified) recently demanded that social media companies pay Canadian news sources – every time someone links to a story.

    The social media companies, logically enough, responded by forbidding people on their platforms from linking to stories from Canadian newspapers.

    Mr Trudeau (the Collectivist ruler of Canada) then flung his toys out of the pram – even though it was his own intervention (“pay money every time someone on your social media site links to a Canadian news source”) that caused the social media companies to cut off the Canadian news sources.

    As most Canadian news sites (the exceptions being Rebel News and True North) are just establishment Collectivist propaganda, I am not upset that they will be much less seen now – thanks to Mr Trudeau.

  • For example, the Canadian regime (and the word “regime” is fully justified) recently demanded that social media companies pay Canadian news sources – every time someone links to a story. The social media companies, logically enough, responded by forbidding people on their platforms from linking to stories from Canadian newspapers.

    Yet the same outcome in Australia yielded different results with Facebook initially refusing to comply, banning all Australian news links and then walking back on that.

    So these organisations at least feel the pressure and we’ll have to see how they actually react if this nonsense gets passed into legislation.

  • Paul Marks.

    Mr Trudeau is an interesting example of the international establishment – in that he “says the quiet part out loud”.

    For example, sometimes he says that there is no such thing as Canadian culture, and sometimes he says that there is – but that it is evil (racist, colonialist and so on) and he is going to destroy it.

    Mr Trudeau’s hated of liberty and his love of tyranny (for example the tyrannical system of the People’s Republic of China) may not be unusual for the international establishment (basically that is what they are like), but he is very unusual in that he goes around openly-saying-so.

    For example, if Mr Trudeau was pushing the On Line Safety Bill (and I am sure he is pushing something similar – or already has done so) he would say “yes I am crushing your reactionary, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, Climate Denialist, liberty – death-to-liberty” before saying “I am going to kill you – and your kitty to!” and riding off on a broomstick.

    It is quite refreshing.

  • Paul Marks.

    Steven R.

    As far as is known, the last Monarch to say “no” was Queen Anne – her veto of the Scots Militia Bill.

    Queen Anne was also the last monarch to attend Cabinet meetings.

    George the First could not speak English (at least not very good English – at least in his early years on the throne) and did not attend Cabinet meetings – later monarchs just carried on not attending. With the powers once held by the monarch now held by a “Prime Minister” – the first being Sir Robert Walpole.

    It is true that the Princes of Liechtenstein have, over the years, stepped in to defend vital principles – but the United Kingdom is not like Liechtenstein (unfortunately).

    And would we really want monarchs to push their own political opinions here?

    Mark Steyn has said that he once believed that the late Queen was forced to say XYZ – but gradually came round to the opinion that the late Majesty actually believed these things, and why not (that the monarch accepts as truth what everyone around them says, is nothing to be shocked by).

    As for our present monarch – King Charles made his position rather clear by taking part in a certain “Net Zero” event with Mayor Khan of London – someone who is considered extreme even by some people in the Labour Party.

    I am sure it would be the same on “Diversity” (Herbert Marcuse style) and every other policy. We are where we are.

  • Paul Marks.

    It is a pity that the letter does not seem to be, directly, sharable – yes, for once, I did click on the link. I think the letter is good – and would like to share it on social media.

  • Paul Marks.

    The Online Safety Bill is being sold as “protecting the children” – its actual purpose is to destroy privacy on-line and lay open transactions – to both the state and to private entities.

    What these internet experts think are problems with the Bill are, of course, its chief intended features (what it is for) – very much part of the international agenda.