Wikipedia Opposes The New Online Safety Bill Plan

Putri Alivia Rifaih . January 19, 2023

Picture: BBC

Techspace - Thousands of volunteers from all over the world contribute to the writing and editing of the leading online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

The company's top executive is speaking out against the Online Safety Bill and insisting that because the firm is about to implement some changes, an exemption should be made.

Regarding how such actions will restrict freedom of expression, the Wikimedia Foundation takes a firm position. This legislation aims to shield internet users from certain hazardous online materials. 

Since the entire encyclopedia is hosted by a non-profit organization, there are rising worries about what this may mean for volunteer-run pages on all of the organization's other sites.

A proposed amendment to the measure, according to Rebecca MacKinnon of the Wikimedia Foundation, would "restrict freedom of expression."

The bill attempts to shield individuals from harmful online content. The encyclopedia is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization.

According to Ms. MacKinnon, the foundation is worried about how the measure could affect volunteer-run websites. She warned that public interest websites like Wikipedia will be impacted by the possibility of "severe" new criminal consequences for IT executives.

A safety bill that could hold tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg criminally accountable for hazardous content that minors consume on social media is close to receiving stronger regulations from the British government.

According to one modification to the bill, tech executives who fail to protect young children from internet information that experts think increases their risk of self-harm could face jail terms of up to two years.

According to Ms. MacKinnon, the rule ought to be based on the EU Digital Services Act, which makes a distinction between centrally managed content moderation by workers and community volunteer moderation of Wikipedia.

Picture: Aurora Universities

On the other hand, according to the government, the law is intended to strike a balance between addressing harm and without putting extra restrictions on low-risk tech enterprises.

When monitoring and implementing the safety obligations established in the bill, "[Regulator] Ofcom will take a fair and proportionate approach, focussing on services where the risk of harm is highest," it stated.

It has been told by the government that this law aims to strike a compromise between mitigating harm and doing so without having to place burdensome demands on businesses that are considered to be low risk.

To ensure proper monitoring and the execution of the new safety rules in this law, Ofcom will adopt a more sensible and committed approach, concentrating on the kinds of things it believes pose the most risk.

The scale of the property will have a significant impact on how it is handled under the new legislation. However, several attorneys are now pointing out how some responsibilities stated in this measure will restrict the use of advanced technologies, which would have an impact on smaller communication providers.

This news is related to the fact that 50 Conservative MPs want to significantly alter the Online Safety Bill. They want to provide two-year prison terms to administrators who don't shield children from inappropriately explicit and abusive information.

Keep in mind that Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited website in the United Kingdom. However, since everything on it is laid up by volunteers, the community ultimately decides what is right and what is wrong.

A website like Wikipedia will be allowed to build its own community moderating strategies, according to the government, as long as it deals with illegal information and safeguards youngsters.

It is also known that officials think it is unlikely that Wikipedia would be categorized as a Category 1 service, subject to the toughest regulations.

Some people may consider that Wikipedia entries on subjects like sexuality, pornography, drug use, and suicide are inappropriate for children to read.

As a result of the bill's provisions, Wikipedia is concerned that it may need to verify users' ages, which would necessitate gathering more reader data than it already does.

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