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Government’s ‘Online Safety’ Bill Will Limit Free Speech, Lead To Massive ‘State-backed Censorship’ Warn Watchdogs

“A frightening and historic attack on freedom of speech”

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Free speech activists in the UK have warned that new government legislation aimed at social media companies is set to decimate free speech and bring in ‘state-backed censorship’ on an unprecedented scale.

The ‘Online Safety’ Bill is being introduced with the justification of forcing big tech to be more accountable for ‘harmful’ content on their websites.

However, activists have noted that it will could be used to remove any opinions and content that big tech or the state do not agree with, and could lead to more publishers being permanently banned from platforms.

The legislation gives the government Office of Communications the power to issue fines of up to £18million or 10 per cent of their annual global turnover if that is higher, and to completely block access to platforms.

Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch has labelled the legislation “state-backed censorship and monitoring on a scale never seen before in a liberal democracy.”

Another activist group. The Free Speech Union noted that the draft legislation effectively brings media created content on social networks “within scope of a state regulator.”

Another group, The Adam Smith Institute labelled the move “a frightening and historic attack on freedom of speech.”

“The Government should not have the power to instruct private firms to remove legal speech in a free society,” commented Matthew Lesh of the Institute.

‘The scope of these proposals is practically limitless, encompassing everything from ‘trolling’ to ‘fraud’ and ‘misinformation’,” he added.

Lesh further warned that “The vagueness of the legislation means there will be nothing to stop Ofcom and a future government including any additional measures in future.”

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group also weighed in, urging that ‘Treating online speech as inherently dangerous and demanding that risks are eliminated under the threat of massive fines is only going to end up in over-reaction and content removal.”

The legislation is set to be reviewed by a joint committee of MPs, and then brought to Parliament.

The move is yet another example of government using the broad definition of ‘hate speech’ to put into place tools that can be used to silence dissent or opinions it does not want in the public realm.

The legislation was drafted and announced following a sustained campaign involving celebrities and sports personalities who demanded that big tech companies should be held more accountable for instances of racism and bullying on its platforms.

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censorship

German Government Demands Big Tech Crack Down On Telegram, Other Free Speech Apps

Tells Apple and Google that Telegram is “a form of accelerator for right-wing extremism and conspiracy theories”

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Steve Watson

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Following threats to shut down the pro free speech encrypted messaging platform Telegram, the German government has stepped up its efforts by putting pressure on Apple and Google to take a more hands on approach to limiting the content people are sharing on the app.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser claimed that the app is contributing to an acceleration of “right-wing extremism” and “conspiracy theories,” in the country.

The minister tweeted “We remind #Apple and #Google of their social responsibility. As long as they offer apps like #Telegram in their stores, they are also a form of accelerator for #right-wing extremism and #conspiracy theories. No place for #hate and #calls for murder!”

In another tweet, Faeser asserted “Everyone has the #right to peaceful assembly. We draw the line when it comes to #hate and #baiting. #Right-wing extremists are increasingly abusing the #Corona demos for their ideology against the #state. We will crack down there with consistent #law enforcement.”

A further statement statement from Germany’s regional interior ministers specifically noted that those organising against the government’s COVID restrictions are using Telegram.

“The social network Telegram and comparable providers serve people in Germany as a networking [platform for Covid protest movements], corona deniers and right-wing radicals,” the statement read.

Last week, Faeser told the German media “We cannot rule this out,” when asked if the platform will be targeted for censorship.

“A shutdown would be grave and clearly a last resort. All other options must be exhausted first,” Faeser clarified.

The minister also told the newspaper that while it is currently unclear what legal action would be needed to shut down the platform, the German government is in consultation with the European Union regarding potential regulation of it.

The Epoch Times notes that in Germany, which has implemented some of the most severe pandemic restrictions, “Telegram has been used as a hub of communication for the protest movement against the measures established to fight the CCP virus, including lockdowns, intermittent mask mandates, and restrictions for the unvaccinated.”

Telegram has been shut down or blocked in other countries including Iran, China, Pakistan, India, Thailand, and Russia.

The platform saw a huge surge in users last year after Facebook owned Watts App introduced a controversial privacy update which led to concerns that the app would hand over user data to its parent company. It also came at the same time as President Trump’s purge from big tech social media platforms.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov warned that people are “being held hostage by tech monopolies.”

In addition to being independent from big tech, Telegram promises robust end-to-end encryption, ensuring messages remain private.

This has made Telegram a target for authoritarians and big tech monopolists.

In the U.S. lobbyist group The Coalition for a Safer Web even filed a lawsuit against Apple in an effort to get Telegram removed from the app store, claiming that it allows ‘extremists’ to spread ‘hate speech’.

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    Major New Report Finds Online Censorship is Self-Defeating

    Makes people distrust authorities event more.

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    A major new report by the esteemed Royal Society finds that online censorship is self-defeating and only causes individuals to distrust authorities even more.

    Of course, the more cynical observer would assert that online censorship isn’t driven by the benevolent motivation to halt “dangerous misinformation.”

    But by the very malevolent motivation to bury the truth.

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    censorship

    Why The Regime Hates Joe Rogan

    The real agenda.

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    The regime is targeting Joe Rogan because they’re frustrated at their inability to censor podcasts the same way they have blacklisted content on other social media platforms.

    That and Rogan’s audience being more than 10 times larger than CNN’s best primetime show.

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