London, July 14 (IANS) The current political crisis in the UK has put the online safety bill, that can send tech CEOs to jail if their platforms fail to comply, in limbo till the new Prime Minister is chosen.
The Online Safety Bill, currently in final stages, was to be discussed in Parliament next week but it has now been paused until MPs return from their summer break, reports the BBC.
The delay was “an absolutely devastating blow and another example of the Tories prioritising their own ideals over people’s safety online”, Shadow Culture Minister Alex Davies-Jones was quoted as saying in the report.
The legislation puts the onus on Big Tech and firms that fail to comply with the new rules could face fines of up to 18 million pounds, or 10 per cent of their annual global turnover, whichever is highest.
In March, the UK government said that its revised online safety law will speed up the process against tech CEOs to send them to jail if their platforms fail to comply with the Online Safety regulations.
New measures in the law include tougher and quicker criminal sanctions for tech bosses and new criminal offences for falsifying and destroying data.
The Bill was originally drafted with a power for senior managers of large online platforms to be held criminally liable for failing to ensure their company complies with media and comms regulator Ofcom’s information requests in an accurate and timely manner.
The Online Safety Bill will require social media platforms, search engines and other apps and websites allowing people to post their own content to protect children, tackle illegal activity and uphold their stated terms and conditions.
“The Bill will strengthen people’s rights to express themselves freely online and ensure social media companies are not removing legal free speech. For the first time, users will have the right to appeal if they feel their post has been taken down unfairly,” Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries had said.
It will also put requirements on social media firms to protect journalism and democratic political debate on their platforms. News content will be completely exempt from any regulation under the Bill, Dorries added.