PM Theresa May - Please Remove the Internet Regulation Policy from the Conservative Manifesto
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UPDATE (12/7/17) - Theresa May has announced her intention to amend her manifesto of certain controversial policies;
Tories to ditch key manifesto pledges
This is our chance to make our concerns for her Internet Regulation Policy known. Please sign and share.
According to the Conservative Manifesto for the 2017 General Election, a policy is outlined regarding regulation of the Internet.
Sources with further details can be found in the following links, including the announcement made in relation to counter-terror law;
The Prime Minister is cynically exploiting the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester and the nebulous "extremist material", among other vaguely defined issues, to justify the suppression and control of information and expression. This is on top of the recently legalised state surveillance and censorship of legal online adult entertainment within the Investigatory Powers Act and the Digital Economy Bill respectively and the recent debate over encryption.
This cannot go unchallenged. I understand the need to combat terrorism and to protect children from adult and extremist content, but what May is proposing is extremely reductive.
Regulating the flow of information, especially within such ill-defined terms such as "hate speech", "obscene material" and "extremism", restricts the freedom of expression that allows online businesses to thrive and valuable data to be preserved and shared. To enforce regulation on top of mass surveillance amounts to criminalising millions of innocent civilians for having what they could easily define as an extremist view, an offensive opinion or an obscene publication on a dangerously broad whim. It doesn't make Britain a leader, it aligns it further with oppressive authoritarian regimes such as North Korea and China.
An alternative to state regulation of information would be, in the case of extreme and obscene content, a stronger focus on education, such as teaching children how to browse the Internet safely, an honest and open discussion about sex and relationships, and how to evaluate and critically analyse information, and, regarding counter-terrorism, a much more stringent focus on preventative action, such as an immediate response to reports of a potential attack or suspect. As for hate speech and abusive communications, again education is paramount, in the sense that users must be taught to either ignore or report abuse.
Here are some articles explaining how tech companies tackle illegal content on their services, what governments - UK and abroad - demand of them and the practicality of such demands and appeals for a discussion in alternative measures;
The Internet is the most valuable tool we have as a global civilisation. Forcing foreign or global organisations to adhere to a guideline that only covers one nation in a global network under threat of sanctions or punitive action is counterproductive and will only drive valuable business away from the United Kingdom. To make your whole population a suspect for something only its admimistration believes is so, without evidence or even a warrant to justify the suspicion, is barbaric. To enforce regulation that controls what information and content people can consume will only endanger them more than allowing them the ability and privacy to make their own judgements.
Please amend the policy to regulate the Internet so that it remains as free and useful as it is without compromising a user's access to legal content.
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