Online "Safety" Bill

The British Government has passed a new law - the Online “Safety” Bill, that makes encryption illegal, apps like Signal and WhatsApp will have to scan every message against the Ofcom database what people are allowed to say, and last but not least, adult websites will have to verify the age of every visitor.

But hey, nothing to worry about… in history, the people behind censorship, though-police, massive surveillance, etc. were always the good guys. I’m sure everything will be fine :slight_smile:

The real question is how they would enforce it against sites and companies outside of the UK.

Hmm, good question. I guess it doesn’t really matter if you are in or outside of the UK. I am not required to tell the government which websites I own, so … I guess the Ofcom could go after big websites like PornHub, etc, and force them to comply, or block access to websites that do not comply, but I’m not sure how they could possibly check every single porn website.

I don’t know if it became a final part of the law or not. I’ve yet to review the final bill, but when it was debated, one option for enforcing compliance of foreign firms was to block domains using the DNS system at a national level. This is probably how they’ll do it with national firms too.
A VPN would bypass this, but many users are unfamiliar with VPNs still.

Funny how they’re willing to do this, but wont bring in and legislate additional stakeholders like ISPs and device manufacturers.

For example (purely on the age verification front): If adult site owners, device, and OS manufacturers were brought to the table and compelled to come up with a solution, Apple, Microsoft and Android for example could probably implement an update inside a week where devices would have to negotiate a tag or token for adult sites at the device-level, which couldnot be circumvented by a VPN or other hack. This would block access to adult sites on a device that a minor has access to. Apple already has parental control framework in place that could encompass this.

On our side it would be easy to implement, and I can’t think of a single reputable adult company that wouldn’t stand to gain by opting in.

…but then politicians would have to muscle tech companies (whose shareholders are probably party donors) instead playing PR by edging out stigmatized industries with more limited resources. SMH.

Probably because this isn’t really about keeping anyone safe online, it’s about a right-wing religious lobby who just want their own version of Iran’s “morality police” with them in control.

When this all started there was some good reporting by someone here in the UK who discovered that a lot of the characters behind this lobbying effort are linked to the American Evangelical movement, they’re involved in anti-choice campaigns, enforcing Bible study in schools, banning same sex marriage, enacting anti-trans laws and so on.

The actions they have been campaigning for will not keep anyone safe online, they are solely designed to harm adult industries under the guise of “protecting children”.

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So this went into force today, written into law.

What happens next?