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Great Britain may have to block Wikipedia under new laws

by on04 May 2023

Some good news from the oven-ready Brexit

Wikipedia could be made inaccessible to UK readers due to issues over complying with Great Britain’s online safety bill, a charity affiliated with the website has warned.

After Brexit, the UK government has been trying to push through laws which would never have a chance under the EU including an Online Safety Bill to “protect children” but is accused of requiring sites to become government data harvesters.

Lucy Crompton-Reid, the chief executive of Wikimedia UK, warned the popular site could be blocked because it will not carry out age verification if required to do so by the bill.

Crompton-Reid told the BBC it was “definitely possible that one of the most visited websites in the world – and a vital source of freely accessible knowledge and information for millions of people – won’t be accessible to UK readers (let alone UK-based contributors)”.

Crompton-Reid said some content on the site could trigger age verification measures under the terms of the bill. “For example, educational text and images about sexuality could be misinterpreted as pornography,” she said.

She added: “The increased bureaucracy imposed by this bill will have the effect that only the really big players with significant compliance budgets will be able to operate in the UK market. This could have dire consequences on the information ecosystem here and is, in my view, quite the opposite of what the legislation originally set out to achieve.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “The world-leading online safety bill has been designed to strike the balance between tackling harm without imposing unnecessary burdens on low-risk tech companies. Ofcom will take a reasonable and proportionate approach when monitoring and enforcing the safety duties outlined in bill, focusing on services where the risk of harm is highest.”

So, in otherwords, just keep on as normal and hope you are not breaking the law.


Last modified on 05 May 2023
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