‘Amending Online Safety Bill to Ensure Consistency with Core International Human Rights Instruments: Specific Recommendations’, October 2021, by Talita Dias.
9 November, 2021
Supplementary Evidence Submission: Online safety and online harms, House of Commons, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation.
- To preserve and strengthen a regulatory model based on duties of care or due diligence, amendments to the Online Safety Bill should make it clear that service providers must reserve content takedowns to only the most serious types of illegal and harmful content, guided by the necessity and proportionality of available measures in the circumstances.
- To ensure that the Bill limits speech in a manner consistent with the requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality laid down in Article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the definitions of illegal and harmful content should be further specified to distinguish between criminal and non-criminal speech acts and require the assessment of their context, speaker, audience and accuracy.
- To address the dissemination of illegal and harmful content at its root, the Bill ought to introduce new duties specifically requiring providers to allow independent audits of their recommendation and content moderation algorithms, as well as to include information on their datasets, efficacy and human rights impact in transparency reports.
- To safeguard the rights to freedom of expression and non-discrimination of all users within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom (UK), the Bill must do away with special protections for content of democratic importance or journalistic nature; instead it should require platforms to take these circumstances into account when considering the context of the relevant speech act and the necessity and proportionality of available measures.
- To ensure fair and effective redress systems in line with Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Bill must require in-scope providers to give notice of speech limitations and their reasoning to affected users, as well as clarify that judicial remedies under the Bill and other legal instruments remain available on a case-by-case basis.
The full evidence submission is available here.