Online Safety Bill threatens to undermine privacy


Energy and Environment
In the Media

Julian Jessop quoted in The Times

Matthew Lesh writes in The Spectator

IEA Director of Public Policy and Communications Matthew Lesh has written in The Spectator on the threats posed to privacy by the Online Safety Bill after several tech platforms wrote to the government warning about the legislation’s approach to encryption.

Matthew wrote:

“Some contend that privacy should be sacrificed in the fight against child abuse. But there are clearly limits to this logic. Few would consent to the state putting CCTV in everyone’s bedroom to crack down on the abuse of children. But that is effectively what a technology notice could mean: a CCTV camera in everyone’s phones.

“Message scanning is open to serious mission creep. There will be enormous pressure to scan communications for other purposes, from ‘disinformation’ in the UK to any unsanctioned material in authoritarian countries. This is why platforms, who do not want to create a vulnerability in their product or set a global precedent for their billions of users, really could leave the relatively small UK market because of the bill.

“Ultimately, message scanning only serves to distract. It wastes policymakers’ and law enforcement’s time while doing little to protect children and threatening fundamental freedoms.”

Read Matthew’s full piece here.