UK Government Expands Online Safety Bill to Make Inciting Self-Harm a Crime!

The UK Government recently confirmed more than a few tweaks, changes, and additions to its much-maligned Online Safety Bill. Mostly, I suspect, to try and patch up the very obvious cracks and loopholes it has which were patently obvious to even the most casual of internet users. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t entirely disparage the Online Safety Bill. Despite having flaws, it clearly comes with generally good intentions, and although I still have my doubts about the actual application of the law, it does at least seem to represent some (mostly) common sense.

Following a report via TechCrunch, however, it seems a new addition to set to be made to the Online Safety Bill that will effectively look towards making the encouragement of self-harming a criminal offence!

Online Safety Bill Looks to Tackle Encouragement of Self-Harm

Now, what does this actually mean? Well, in a nutshell, if a person is found to be engaging in behaviour online which could be considered acting in the overall encouragement (or support) of another person to commit acts of self-harm (most notably suicide), then they would be criminally liable and could potentially face, should this amendment go ahead, a custodial sentence.

And just in case you were wondering, the whole aspect of ‘dark humour’ isn’t overly addressed here and it does appear that if a case like this ever did go to trial, it might ultimately be a huge argumentative point between the lawyers as to whether the accused was being ‘serious’ or ‘joking around’. I daresay though that the latter might not stand up to too much scrutiny and particularly if you have a rather colourful history of comments online.

What do you think though? Is this a solid addition to the Online Safety Bill or is it, yet again, another good idea that’s going to be practically borderline impossible to police? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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