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IEA - Home Office demands on tech companies “a recipe for censorship on an industrial scale”

Matthew Lesh, Head of Public Policy at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on reports that the UK Home Office is pushing for powers to require internet companies to proactively monitor for “legal but harmful” user content 

“The Online Safety Bill is going from bad to worse. The Home Office demand for social media companies to proactively monitor legal speech is a recipe for censorship on an industrial scale.

“It will mean that Meta (Facebook) and Google will be required to read private messages between consenting adults. This is deeply disturbing and will result in a less safe and free internet.

“The state should not be requiring monitoring and the removal of legal speech. These duties will also impose huge costs on start-ups and smaller companies, deterring tech investment and solidifying Big Tech dominance.”

Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731

IEA spokespeople are avialable for interview and further comment.

Further IEA reading on the Online Safety Bill: In harm’s way: Why online safety regulation needs an Independent Reviewer, by Matthew Lesh and Mikołaj Barczentewicz.

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