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The UK’s Online Safety Bill: The day we took a stand against serious online harms or the day we lost our freedoms to platforms and the state?

The Journal of Data Protection & Privacy, Spring 2022

This paper discusses the UK’s Online Safety Bill, which is intended to protect vulnerable individuals online, although at the risk of promoting surveillance techniques and mandating proactive content removal by platforms. It analyses how the Bill, a very ambitious project, tries to safeguard vulnerable people through means which could be easily abused, and asks whether the risk of abuse that could affect everyone is worth the protection of a minority of online users. Recently demonstrated authoritarian approaches to solving the COVID-19 crisis make this concern palpable. The paper concludes by saying that once we take a path, it will be difficult to walk it back.

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