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Tradition secretary rejects claims modifications to on-line security invoice have made it weaker – UK politics dwell | Politics


Good morning. The Rishi Sunak cupboard could also be full of faces from the David Cameron, Theresa Could, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss administrations, however it isn’t all continuity and in some methods Sunak is revising insurance policies pursued by his predecessors. We’ve bought an instance in the present day, with modifications to the web security invoice.

The invoice, which has been years within the planning and which was published by Nadine Dorries when she was culture secretary, would prolong vital new controls over social media corporations. It goes additional than what has been tried in most different western democracies. The invoice accomplished nearly all its Commons levels within the spring, but it was shelved as Johnson needed to resign, amid issues that it restricted freedom of speech an excessive amount of and within the information {that a} new PM may favor a special strategy.

He does, and this morning Michelle Donelan, the tradition secretary, has introduced vital modifications. Right here is the Division for Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport’s summary. And right here is my colleague Dan Milmo’s in a single day story.

The unique invoice targeted closely on a class of content material deemed “authorized however dangerous” (posts about suicide, for instance). The invoice didn’t ban this content material, but it surely imposed strict restrictions on how social media corporations must deal with it (the complete particulars are in a briefing here), and that led to claims that this might quantity to a de facto ban, as a result of the social media corporations would select to not take any dangers and take away the content material anyway.

The “authorized however dangerous” provisions have now been eliminated, and changed with plans which are meant to realize the same impact whereas wanting much less like censorship. Ian Russell, who has been a campaigner for stricter controls since his daughter Molly killed herself after viewing giant quantities of content material associated to suicide and melancholy on social media, mentioned he was glad the federal government was lastly bringing the invoice again to parliament.

However he mentioned the elimination of the “authorized however dangerous” clauses meant the invoice was being watered down. He informed the Immediately programme:

There are two feelings this morning and one is a few aid, not simply on my half however on the a part of many mother and father who sadly discover themselves in related circumstances, that finally that is transferring ahead.

There’s been a rising sense of frustration amongst that neighborhood of bereaved mother and father and households that not sufficient is being carried out, in order that’s the excellent news.

However, as ever with this stuff, the satan will likely be within the element and so it’s very onerous to grasp that one thing that was vital as just lately as July, when the invoice would have had a 3rd studying within the Commons – and was included within the invoice, this authorized however dangerous content material – it’s very onerous to grasp why that all of a sudden can’t be there …

I don’t see how one can see the elimination of an entire clause as something aside from a watering down.

However Donelan claims the invoice has been made “stronger”. And, interviews this morning, she mentioned the protections for youngsters within the invoice weren’t being watered down. She informed the Immediately programme:

Let’s be completely clear. So that you talked about younger folks and youngsters – nothing is getting watered down or taken out in the case of youngsters. We’re including additional in, so there isn’t any change to youngsters.

And she or he has posted this on Twitter.

The On-line Security Invoice is again and I’ve made some modifications.

It now consists of stronger protections to maintain youngsters secure, and new duties to help free speech and provides extra energy to customers. pic.twitter.com/jpcc9obIEG— Michelle Donelan MP (@michelledonelan) November 29, 2022

I promised I might make some commonsense tweaks and I’ve.

This can be a stronger, higher invoice for it. It’s targeted the place it must be: on defending youngsters and on stamping out illegality on-line.

Now it’s time to move it.— Michelle Donelan MP (@michelledonelan) November 29, 2022

Right here is the agenda for the day.

Morning: Rishi Sunak chairs cupboard.

10am: Martin Lewis, the buyer champion and founding father of the MoneySavingExpert web site, offers proof to the Commons tradition committee at 10am on misinformation.

11.30am: Downing Avenue holds a foyer briefing.

3pm: Andrew Bailey, governor of the Financial institution of England, offers proof to the Lords financial affairs committee.

Afternoon: Olena Zelenska, the primary woman of Ukraine, offers a speech to MPs and friends in parliament.

I attempt to monitor the feedback beneath the road (BTL) however it’s unattainable to learn all of them. If in case you have a direct query, do embrace “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra more likely to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions and, if they’re of basic curiosity, I’ll put up the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you wish to appeal to my consideration rapidly, it’s in all probability higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you possibly can e mail me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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