VIA| Theresa May is a British politician that serves the Prime Minister in the UK. Now, she just might be the usher of a 1984 Big Brother reality in the UK. May plans to introduce a new wave of regulations upon the UK like the world has never seen. This regulations directly affect how the internet works and what the government allows on the internet.
Critics have pointed specific focus towards the end of what is now being called the Tory Manifesto. The Tories want to make drastic changes. “Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,” it states. “We disagree.”
These plans that enable Britain to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share, publish and download online. It will make the UK “the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet”, or so the manifesto claims.
This new “manifesto” comes just after the new Investigatory Powers Act which allows the UK government to keep records of user browsing histories, as well as access to messages on messaging apps like Whatsapp.
Of course, the manifesto is a “good thing”. The reason it’s being created is to create a “safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online”. However, in order to do so, new backdoors into encryption and messaging services are being developed to give the government the ability to read not only terrorist messages, but UK citizens at large.
While much of the internet is controlled by companies that have built it, like Google and Facebook, the UK wants its own control methods to decide what gets published or not. Similar to China’s way of controlling their internet, the UK would use a similar “shotgun approach” to block pornographic content, hate speech, or any content deemed “inappropriate”. “We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm,” the Conservatives write.
To make things worse, the laws enacted in the manifesto would also automatically force social media and technology companies to remove content posted if the user is under the age of 18. Additionally, these companies would also be required to prevent counter-extremist narratives.
“In harnessing the digital revolution, we must take steps to protect the vulnerable and give people confidence to use the internet without fear of abuse, criminality or exposure to horrific content”, the manifesto exacts in the section ‘the safest place to be online’.
To justify the harsh new laws, the conservatives think that the online world should be regulated in similar manners as the offline one. “Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline,” the Conservatives’ manifesto says, rationalizing this justification for a new level of internet control and censorship.
“It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground, as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard for children to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street, and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically.”
Not only that, but the new law will require internet companies to pay for a levy that helps pay for advertising schemes to “educate” people about the dangers of the internet.
If companies fail to adhere to the new manifesto, these companies could summarily be “punished”. “We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law,” the manifesto reads.