This article critiques key proposals of the United Kingdom’s “Online Harms” White Paper; in particular, the proposal for new digital regulator and the imposition of a “duty of care” on platforms. While acknowledging that a duty of care, backed up by sanctions works well in some environments, we argue is not appropriate for policing the White Paper’s identified harms as it could result in the blocking of legal, subjectively harmful content. Furthermore, the proposed regulator lacks the necessary independence and could be subjected to political interference. We conclude that the imposition of a duty of care will result in an unacceptable chilling effect on free expression, resulting in a draconian regulatory environment for platforms, with users’ digital rights adversely affected.
|Pages (from-to)||78 - 90|
|Journal||Technology and Regulation|
|Publication status||Published - 8 Sept 2020|
Bibliographical noteCopyright (c) 2020 Mark R. Leiser, Edina Harbinja. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
- online harms
- free speech
- duty of care