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British PM Candidate Promises Social Media Crackdown ( 218

Theresa May's party "is expected to win a majority at the June 8 election," reports Reuters -- and she's promising they'll pass new social media laws. An anonymous reader quotes Politico: They want to introduce a new measure that could fine or punish internet firms which fail to adequately flag and take down content harmful to minors or "direct users unintentionally to hate speech, pornography or other sources of harm," according to a press release. "The internet has brought a wealth of opportunity but also significant new risks which have evolved faster than society's response to them," May said. "We want social media companies to do more to help redress the balance and will take action to make sure they do"... The Conservative digital platform also promises to better protect Brits' personal information, compelling social media companies to trash user records from before the age of 18. The party plans to encourage the development of digital by default government and business services, as well.
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British PM Candidate Promises Social Media Crackdown

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  • Alternative title: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday May 14, 2017 @09:54AM (#54413741)

    British PM Candidate Explains, "I don't understand how the Internet works!"

    There seems to be an awful lot of politicians that don't understand how powerless they are to control what happens outside of their country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There seem to be an awful lot of techies who don't understand that politicians can in fact control what happens outside their country.

      Maybe not on the entirety of the internet, but certainly for a few big social media companies, which is all that matters to the millennial crowd anyway, since they have elected to move entirely to corporate centrally controlled internet services. It works especially well when the social media company - let's call it Facebook for example - agrees and wants to self-censor to a

    • It's not got anything to do with understanding. If this can be passed into law and fines imposed for the new "illegal" activity, that is a source of government income.

      It's far better than taxes since it doesn't take money from citizens. It doesn't affect domestic internet companies since all the big social media outfits are american. In fact it is "free" cash.

      There are plenty of cases of the US government fining foreign companies for contravening its laws. Many times they have to pay $$$$ billions. So i

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It has to be said though, the Tories do seem to have a particular obsession with internet porn and general puritanism. Remember David Cameron's pornwall? The proposal to make you call your ISP and ask them to turn the porn on for you, or have it "blocked" by some magical firewall by default.

    • Except if your country is big enough to, you know, actually matter.

    • I think they understand very well indeed. They propose to punish firms that have a UK presence and do not crack down. That's entirely possible and within their power.

      Sure they can't stop things being posted on the internet. But they can prevent any firm from *making money from internet* in the UK unless they toe the line. Economic reality being what it is, that will have a huge effect on what people in the UK consume.

    • They can always control any company that wants to do business in their country. Do you think Facebook wants to pull out of the UK? If they did, then that's a big incentive for a UK-based competitor to start up. If other countries see that they can get Facebook to pull out, do you think that they wouldn't follow suit? It's not like Facebook is paying a lot of tax in, say, France or Germany. By attempting to centralise the Internet, companies like Facebook and Google have made it a lot easier to control.
  • Not surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by etnoy ( 664495 ) on Sunday May 14, 2017 @10:03AM (#54413773) Homepage
    In the EU, the GDPR will give EU citizens roughly the same powers. The UK is leaving the EU, so this law will be a replacement for it.
    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Sunday May 14, 2017 @01:39PM (#54414589) Homepage Journal

      No, this goes way beyond the GDPR. The EU rules are mainly about retaining control over your data, and clarifying existing rules on the right to be forgotten (which isn't what you think it is).

      The Tories are proposing mandatory porn filtering, with fines if the filters don't work. The proposal is vague, probably because they don't have any real idea how it would actually work or the burden it would place on ISPs, so it is hard to evaluate the precise level of stupidity involved.

      Most likely it's just an election promise that will be quietly forgotten after a consultation where ISPs tell them it's moronic. They have proposed similar things before, but the cost usually ends up putting them off, and they already have to help pay for the new data retention and surveillance powers.

  • Good luck defining "hate speech, pornography or other sources of harm," or what it means to direct users towards them. Sounds like a full employment plan for politicians.

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Sunday May 14, 2017 @10:11AM (#54413811)

    "direct users unintentionally to"

    So if it's unintentional that means a bug or error has been found in software designed to define the content

    Are we going to punish companies for bugs? Perhaps the measure should at least allow the companies to address it in a timely manner, or to prove that they were at least attempting to be stringent? A punishment for something unintentional seems a little extreme.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's not a serious proposal. It's an election promise that will be forgotten as soon as they win, handed to some working group to waste money for a few years and then be quietly dropped.

      Nice bit of distraction from the other computer problems and their enhanced, near real-time surveillance powers that they plan to bring in. Shame that didn't get more media coverage.

  • Not a PM Candidate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pop69 ( 700500 ) <billy@ben a r t y> on Sunday May 14, 2017 @10:36AM (#54413901) Homepage
    We don't directly elect our Prime Minister so Theresa May isn't a PM candidate. Wish people would get this right
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      We basically do. If you help the Conservative candidate get in, you're helping Theresa May become PM.

    • by colinwb ( 827584 )

      That's true in theory, but not in practice, at least not in practice in this 2017 General Election.

      As evidence for this consider the Conservative "battle bus" []. If you double click on the top photo on that page to enlarge it (or alternatively click this link []), and then look *very* carefully just under the window on the open door at the front you might be able to just make out the word "Conservatives". If you have the eyes of a hawk.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Go look up what the word 'candidate' means. Then you can apologise to everybody.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      To be fair, she also isn't. In fact everybody in the UK would be a PM candidate, no matter how unlikely it is that they become one.

      You could start introducing yourself like that:
      Hello, I am Pop69, PM candidate.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Sunday May 14, 2017 @10:40AM (#54413919)

    This could go a long way toward persuading average Brits they should protect their privacy...and make it considerably more difficult for law enforcement to sort out the really bad stuff from relatively harmless things.

    For example, if I were an ISP, I'd probably start offering discounts to customers based on the level of internet security they were willing to employ. If a customer was willing to make it impossible or incredibly difficult and expensive for me to determine what sites they were visiting, I'd be willing to knock quite a bit off their monthly internet bill.

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      The value of the data gained from spying likely outweighs the regulatory load.
      • For the government and information aggregators, no doubt you're right. But the ISP's get most of the headache and little of the reward. Don't you think government is likely to just force them to give up the information? And parties interested in buying it won't pay an ISP anywhere near what the data are worth.

        Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see getting caught between predatory data gatherers and soon-to-be-furious victims as a long term strategy for a happy business life.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      Britain just voted to leave the protection of the EU data protection regulations - clearly they don't seem to care too much about this on the whole.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      This could go a long way toward persuading average Brits they should protect their privacy...

      No. Would be nice, but no. Much, much, more concerned with getting rid of foreigners. Foreigner in this instance means foreign-looking, not necessarily a nationality thing.

  • Free speech (Score:2, Troll)

    by JWW ( 79176 )

    Free speech dies when social justice is "enforced".

    One persons hate speech is their political enemies voice. How convienient!!

    • Re:Free speech (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gort65 ( 1464371 ) on Sunday May 14, 2017 @11:32AM (#54414121)

      Free speech dies when social justice is "enforced".

      So you think that Teresa May and the Conservatives are concerned with enforcing "social justice"? Then again, maybe you're so far to the right of her that it feels that way.

  • Simply to deny use of any Social media to anyone who is considered a minor.

    Problem solved.

    Far cheaper and easier a solution than to try and mediate every post, image and video that can be found there.

  • They really do live in a different universe than us, just like Juncker said, after that dinner with P.M. May.

    They have many illusions and this is another one.

  • []
    Excerpt: "The country was listed among the "Enemies of the Internet" in 2014 by Reporters Without Borders,[6] a category of countries with the highest level of internet censorship and surveillance that "mark themselves out not just for their capacity to censor news and information online but also for their almost systematic repression of Internet users".[7] Other major economies listed in this category include China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia."

    It ends basically

    • This has nothing to do with the so-called "Nanny State". It has everything to do with predatory fascists grabbing as much control as they can over the lives of average people. The Nanny State is a well-intentioned but overprotective government constantly trying to guard its people from the consequences of their own actions. For the current crop of far-right wannabe dictators currently consolidating their control of former democracies in the US, the UK and elsewhere, protecting people is an excuse. Naked

  • You can take the daughter out of the vicarage, but you can't take the vicarage out of the daughter.

    Not that anything will happen. It's just throwing a bone to Daily Mail readers which is pretty pointless as they're all dedicated Tory voters, especially now the BNP has imploded.

  • The Conservative digital platform also promises to better protect Brits' personal information, compelling social media companies to trash user records from before the age of 18.

    Will that be before or after they have to hand them over to the secret police under the new Snooper's Charter?

    • "Will that be before or after they have to hand them over to the secret police under the new Snooper's Charter?" Neither. That data will have been slurped live in real time once end-to-end encryption is banned.
  • If the UK make themselves irrelevant by hamstringing their ability to adapt and work in 'high tech', some other country will take over for them. So the rest of the world will be OK. The UK will suffer for her policies, and eventually she'll be fired in another election. Unless of course the opposition parties keep running fucktard incompetents. It's up to Britains to figure out whether they like her policies or not and act accordingly.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?