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Policy matters

Policy does matter. We may think that the Internet is a free digital environment, where no laws apply but there are many cases which contradict this notion.

In this section of Iptegrity.com, I  report on EU policy related to the Internet and online content, in particular, where policy intiatives affect   access to film, music and television, and I highlight issues for the  policy debate in relation to the Internet.  For 2008-2009, copyright enforcement has been the hot topic, with net neutrality emerging as well, in 2009.   My focus is on the European Union and  its member states - for example,  I am currently covering Internet  policy - specifically copyright enforcement intiatives - in France and the UK.

I am most interested in the citizen's perspective. However, the issues I cover will affect the Internet and telecoms industries, as well as the media and entertainment industries.  

Iptegrity.com offers  original reporting from the EU, as well as comment and opinion on issues raised in other media, including non-English language media in Europe. Iptegrity.com is the main English-language news source for the Telecoms Package review of EU telecoms law.

A political agreement in the European Parliament hopes to resolve the heated discourse over end-to-end encryption and protecting children online. It's a pragmatic way forward that aims to both safeguard against child abuse and maintain confidentiality of communications. It's not yet over the line but from a human rights perspective, it's heading in the right direction.

Read more: MEPs reach political agreement to protect children and privacy

TL;DR  The Online Safety Act officially becomes law today. It’s an Act to address some very serious public policy issues that have arisen as the Internet reached maturity, but the divisive politicking employed to get it over the line means that implementation will be a challenge, to say the least. This is not because people don’t want to protect children or tackle abuse – we all do – but because the methods proposed in the Online Safety Act for implementing that protection do not work with the existing global infrastructure.

Read more: Online Safety - a non-consensual Act

Online Safety Bill debate in the House of Commons  - Westminster Parliament

Image: an empty House of Commons debating the Online Safety Bill on 12 September 2023.

TL:DR On the same day as the UK Parliament approved the Online Safety Bill (soon to be Online Safety Act), a US court  blocked a law to protect children when they access the Internet on grounds that it violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution which protects free speech.

When you run the Online Safety Bill  through the mirror of this US court ruling, you get a remarkable set of findings. Whilst US free speech law operates differently from UK law, it is very likely that the Online Safety Bill will also be in breach of freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights. This article takes a comparative look.

Read more: Online Safety Bill passes as US court blocks age-checks law

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.