(by Tom Parker | Reclaim The Net) – A UK bill that requires large tech platforms to implement identity and age verification technology is currently making its way through Parliament.
This Online Safety Bill mandates that services containing pornographic content implement age verification technology and use it to ensure that children “are not normally able to encounter” pornographic content.
Large platforms are also required to “offer all adult users of the service the option to verify their identity” (even if identity verification isn’t required to access the service) so that these users can choose to filter out “non-verified users.”
As a result, Big Tech companies, that already hold lots of personal data on their users, are now legally required to offer yet another channel through which they or their partners can scoop up even more personal and highly sensitive data.
This mandated implementation of identity and age verification technology also creates another data honeypot during a time when the number of data breaches and hacks have reached never-before-seen highs.
Not only does this aspect of the bill have massive privacy implications but the bill’s privacy protections are so weak that they often have no impact. The Online Safety Bill also poses a massive threat to free speech by requiring large platforms to censor based on the vague, ambiguous term “harm” and giving the government broad censorship powers.
You can get a full overview of all the free speech and privacy threats posed by the Online Safety Bill here.
You can see a full copy of the full Online Safety Bill here.
The bill is currently making its way through Parliament and you can track its progress here.