A new briefing by digital rights campaigners Open Rights Group (ORG) and Electronic Frontier Foundation warns that UK Government proposals to protect children could force tech platforms to choose between freedom of speech and the right to privacy. The Online Safety Bill requires sites that allow user-generated content, such as Facebook, TikTok, and Wikipedia, to prevent children from seeing content the government defines as ‘harmful’. Consequently, platforms will have to choose between sanitising their sites to ensure all content is suitable for children, or ask users to verify their ages through government-issued documents or using biometric data, such as face scans, to estimate ages.
James Baker, campaigns manager at the ORG, has raised concerns about the restrictions on the content that can be shared or seen and the potential threat to privacy and security posed by age verification measures. The briefing also suggests that the UK should take note of Australia's decision to abandon similar proposals due to concerns over privacy and security.
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