Bulletins

UK's Online Safety Bill could spell jail time for trolls

The bill would reportedly criminalize certain behavior that causes "emotional, psychological, or physical harm to the likely audience."

Parliament and Big Ben as seen behind a bridge, from across the river Thames

The Online Safety Bill is still being drafted.

Photo: Marcin Nowak/Unsplash
Lawmakers in the U.K. are considering making it illegal to post certain content online that causes "emotional, psychological, or physical harm to the likely audience" and punishing violators with jail time, according to The Sunday Times. The provision would be part of the forthcoming Online Safety Bill that is currently being drafted.

According to the Times, the bill would outlaw "threatening communications" as well as "knowingly false communications," which spread false information with the intent to cause emotional, psychological or physical harm. The broad law would place an emphasis on the experience of the receiver of the message and the "harmful effects" the message had on that person, the Times reported.

"We are making our laws fit for the digital age," a government spokesperson told the Times. "Our comprehensive Online Safety Bill will make tech companies responsible for people's safety and we are carefully considering the Law Commission's recommendations on strengthening criminal offences."

The bill, which is set to be introduced to parliament next month, would also place a number of new requirements on tech platforms, including the requirement that they remove content that is legal, but could be harmful to users.

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Bulletins