UK Drops Plans For Ban of “Legal but Harmful” Content in Online Safety Bill

The UK’s proposed Online Safety Bill, while clearly well-intentioned, honestly feels like it’s probably doomed to be a somewhat embarrassing failure. I mean, most would say that can’t police the internet, but boy is the UK government willing to take a crack at it!

While the entire proposal itself is a bit of a hot mess, however, one of the more problematic aspects of the proposal was the intent to ban access to any content on the internet which was deemed ‘legal, but harmful’. Following a report via Standard, however, it appears that the UK government has, somewhat wisely I expect, decided to drop this particular proposal.

UK Ditches Online Safety Bill’s ‘Legal but Harmful’ Proposal

So, at this point I guess many of you are wondering exactly what ‘legal but harmful’ content might be. Well, truth be told, even I had to look it up because I was struggling to think what could constitute this. Fortunately though, I found a pretty good definition (not actually from the Online Safety Bill) which states it as:

“The term is used to describe images, words and videos that are legal to create and view but have a high risk of causing physical or psychological damage or injury. This briefing focuses on pornography and material which promotes or glorifies eating disorders, self-harm and suicide.”

So, with us now all knowing what it is, I’m pretty sure we all know why the UK government has dropped their plans for this proposal. Put simply, how the hell are you possibly going to enforce this on the internet? Crap like this is, sadly, spouted quite a lot online. And, dare I say, mostly by younger people who likely couldn’t be prosecuted as an adult.

Overall, while the UK government is trying to pretend that this U-turn is in ‘protection of free speech’, ultimately, I think this possibly best highlights how the Online Safety Bill is more likely than not to prove completely impossible to effectively enforce!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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