Britain wants to regulate the Internet - what will affect the new laws

    Yesterday we tried to figure out why the Linux kernel developers threatened to remove the code they wrote from the kernel . Today, we are switching to another topic and telling what will change with the adoption of new laws, which were presented by the UK government.

    These are rules aimed at regulating and developing Internet space.

    Politicians want to ban the distribution of “malicious” content on social networks and work out a migration plan for the FTTP infrastructure .

    / photo Carlos ZGZ CC

    Content filters in social networks

    The British government proposed to introduce a new law, according to which social networks will be required to remove offensive posts and false information (about individuals and companies) within a few hours after publication, as well as check the age of users. According to BuzzFeed News, Britain will create not only the law, but also the regulator, which will monitor the implementation of the new rules.

    The draft of the draft law is currently being developed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom ( Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport - DCMS ). The consultant is the Ofcom communications bureau, which regulates the telecommunications and postal industry of the United Kingdom.

    In September of this year, Ofcom even releasedreport with recommendations on the fight against "malicious" information in social networks. In it, Ofcom advised the government to develop standards for online content and a system of penalties for companies that do not comply with these requirements.

    As an example for British politicians, Ofcom cited a law that was passed in Germany in 2017. According to him, social networks should remove unwanted content within 24 hours (in some cases within a few weeks). In particular, German law prohibits posting on social networks posts that violate the German criminal code, as well as materials with slander or insults. If the platform violator refuses to remove them, it is fined - payments can reach 50 million euros.

    Nevertheless, Ofcom noted that the law of Germany in some situations limits the freedom of speech, and urged to take into account these shortcomings. For example, the German law does not spell out the need to take into account the context of certain statements. Such “holes” in the formulations have already led to blocking the publication of a satirical magazine on Twitter .

    And the British government is ready to take into account the negative experience of other countries. DCMS Chairman Damian Collins (Damian Collins) said that according to philosophy, the law will be closer to American than to Western European. Apparently, politicians are ready to take into account the opinion of technology companies and develop rules that will suit both corporations and the government. The first draft they plan to submit this winter.

    What the public thinks

    The government’s campaign was supported by TV channels: BBC, Sky, ITV and others. The heads of the channels published an open letter in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, which stated that they supported the idea of ​​an independent regulator for social networks.

    Representatives of a number of IT companies, on the contrary, spoke about the new initiative in a negative way. For example, Facebook’s vice president of public policy, Richard Allan , says that a company is responsible for the quality of published content only to users and doesn’t need an oversight body. At the same time, he added that if the government still wants to change the "rules of work" of social networks, then it is worth discussing this issue with the companies themselves.

    As for simple Internet users, opinions are divided here. Ofcom representatives conducted a survey among one and a half thousand inhabitants of the country - only 52% of respondents supported the introduction of new rules for regulating online content.

    But there are those who still thought that such initiatives are a waste of time and effort. According to them, even if social networks will check the age of users more carefully, teens will still be able to bypass the ban and get access to any information. At the same time, politicians have not yet told how exactly the verification will take place, because people are worried about the safety of personal data.

    Deliver the optics directly to the house

    Another important goal of Britain is to update the Internet in the country and switch from “copper” to optical fiber. According to data for June 2017, FTTP channels were extended to only 2.3% of buildings ( p. 192 of the report ). This is at a time when the European average is approaching 27%.

    The British government has set a goal - by 2033 to provide FTTP-connection to all residents of the country. The new law will also be developed with the participation of Ofcom. The organization commissioned the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to examine the issue of network upgrades . The commission has already made recommendations to the government, issuing a corresponding report in July 2018 - National Infrastructure Assessment .

    / BT's BDUK CC Photo

    Based on the recommendations of the NIC, policies will develop economic regulation rules that will allow telecommunications companies to upgrade their infrastructure. It is likely that the state will provide Internet providers with all the necessary building permits and will start allocating grants for laying cables in remote areas. The first draft of this resolution will be presented in the spring of 2019.

    Community opinions

    Representatives of telecommunications companies believe that state support will stimulate the growth of the market and help reduce the price of Internet connection for the end user. UK residents also endorsed the idea of ​​upgrading the infrastructure; however, opinions can be found on the forums, flavored with skepticism.

    One of the residents of Reddit, who lives in London, said he could not connect to the fiber-optic network for four years - his provider does not accept applications. Therefore, he doubts that the current (rather deplorable) state of the network infrastructure in Britain will allow politicians to fulfill their promises within a reasonable time.

    There is an opposite opinion. Upcoming 5G networks requirehigh-speed connections, because the modernization of IT infrastructure in Britain will be pretty fast. This will allow the country to keep up with world leaders who are already beginning to implement the new generation commercial networks .

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