First, do no harms
Britain unveils a plan to regulate onli非洲气候ne content
The government makes the novel suggestion that companies should care for their users
IN THE SPRING a government’s fancy turns to thoughts of internet regulation. This month alone, Singapore announced a bill to clamp down on fake news, Taiwan said it would ban Chinese-owned video-streaming services and Australia rushed through its parliament a Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material bill, which among other things seeks to hold tech-company executives personally liable for failing swiftly to take down offensive content.
On继女 April 8th the British governme抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰nt published a 102-page policy paper outlining how it thinks internet regulation should work to reduce what it awkwardly calls “online harms”. It is 抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰enormous in scope and hugely ambitious, encompassing any company that allows people “to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online”. That would 男人穿旭日旗include not just big social networks but also community forums, review sites, dating apps and much else. The harms covered are similarly extensive, from terrorist material and child abuse to more subjective things such as 烽火徽记在哪换trolling and disinformation. Some fear it opens the door to censorship of the internet.
To be sure黑塔利亚第七季, there is a lo抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰t to iron out. The government appear抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰s keen to av抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰oid stifling speech, imposing cumbersome regulation on small companies, snooping on private conversations or setting up large-scale monitoring of online traffic. But the paper is vague on how it will achieve its aims of proportionate regulation and monitoring without infringing on liberties.
Moderating content on the internet has so far been a losing game of whack-a-mole. This was brought home by the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand in March, when a video of the shooting and a manifesto written by the alleged culprit spread rapidly on 姜程威some of the world’s best-resourced social-media platforms despi抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰te efforts to prevent their dissemination. In the case of both copyright and terrorist- or abuse-related material, tech platforms are legally responsible f谌贻章or quickly removing content they find or are made aware of. Yet merely taking down objectionable content ignores the question of how it got there.
Britain’s approach—which it hopes will be adopted elsewhere—is to require companies to design their services in ways that make it harder for bad content to spread in the first place. The big idea is to impose a statutory “duty of care”. Companies must “take reasonable steps to keep their users safe and tackle illegal and harmful activity on their services”. The governmewrsndmnt will set up a new regulator or hand new responsibilities to an existing one, such as Of郭源潮是谁com, which oversees broadcast media and telecoms, or the Information Commissioner’s Office, the data-protection watchdog. The regulator’s mandate will be broad: publishing guidelines for companies, overseeing complaints, encouraging co-op烟灰炖梓叶eration between firms and issuing fines, as well as other, harsher pen日本六九alties, including blocking websites in Britain or holding senior managers personally responsible.
The eventual legislation will have to walk a tightrope between several conflicting imperatives. Maintaining national security and protecting the vulnerable must be balanced against individual liberties. Imposing substantial requiremen珠江帆影ts on big tech companies must not stifle innovation or prevent smaller firms from thriving. And the new law must not conflict with existing British and European rules that protect online platforms from liability for content they simply host. On the last, the government’s plans seem to suggest that, so long as companies live up to their duty of care by designing products in a way that discourages the dissemination of proscribed material, t抗战电视剧,「经济学人」First, do no harms,张三丰hey will be protected.
Tech firms said they would work with ministers to fine-tune the regulations. Th按摩果冻ey arek1506 already 爱拍才哥resigned to being kept on a tighter leash. Last month Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s boss, called for more internet regulation in an article in the Washington Post. Draft legislation will appear at the earliest in the autumn, and is unlikely to become law for a couple of years. A change of prime minister, a general election or continued parliamentary gridlock around Brexit could see it slip down the agenda. As the policy paper puts it, the government will “bring forward legislation when parliamentary time allows”. In the meanwhile, the harms continue to multiply.
This article appeared in the Britain se调教男宠ction of the print edition under the headline "First, do no harms"(Apr 11th 2019)