Business supports clear regulation which can play a crucial role in building trust in the digital economy. But current proposals risk falling short of the Government’s ambition to be the best and safest place to build a digital business, according to a White Paper response by the CBI.
The UK’s leading business organisation has developed a five-point plan for creating world-leading internet regulation which includes:
- Backing a new independent regulator as part of OFCOM
- Providing clear rules to follow – greater clarity on the definitions, legal responsibilities and scope
- Drawing up enforcement measures which are both proportionate and feasible
- Joining up Government initiatives on tech policy and regulation
- Enhancing digital literacy across business and the wider UK public.
Building trust in technology we use every day is vital for both society and the economy. The UK digital sector has become an economic powerhouse for the country, creating jobs almost three times faster than the rest of economy. But 76% of adult internet users express concern about going online andhighlights the importance of trust and privacy for customers determining where to spend their money.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General said:
“The UK has a unique opportunity to set out a world-leading approach to internet regulation.
“We can be the international yardstick for how best to protect people from harm online, while also supporting the UK’s flourishing digital economy.
“While the UK leads its digital competitors, it cannot rest on its laurels. Major regulatory interventions must be internationally workable and sought after by the rest of the world.
“After speaking to businesses across the country, from start-ups to multinationals, it’s clear these proposals fall short and can be improved.
“For example, the Duty of Care should focus on illegal harmful content and re-examine proposals for legal but harmful issues. Ofcom can be the home for new regulator, but for it to be successful it must be independent, properly resourced and equipped with the right expertise.
“Both Government and industry should have the responsibility for funding the new regulator; the Government cannot out-source its responsibility to build public trust and keep its citizens safe.
“But done badly, poor regulation will undermine new entrants into the digital economy and dampen UK investment, while having minimal impact on improving public trust.”
Insurance Edge Comment:
In an era when people are being jailed for something they tweeted and people are losing their jobs over a careless Like on Facebook, do we really need to encourage more government regulation? Nobody seriously believes we enjoy freedom of speech in the UK anymore, there are too many online lynch mobs waiting to pounce on anyone whose views they dislike.
In this Orwellian atmosphere, where smartphones and Alexa devices are listening to everything we say, and backing up emails to the Cloud, all of us should be campaigning for the only diversity that really matters for society in the long term; a diversity of opinion, plus the tolerance, or occasional mockery, of other people’s point of view.
Anything less is censorship, pure and simple.