UK lawmakers propose making covid disinformation a crime

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By The Daily Mail

Web giants are facing a major crackdown on the worst illegal activity taking place on their platforms. The UK Online Safety Bill will now include people smuggling, hate crimes, fraud and revenge porn as ‘priority’ illegal content. It means tech companies will be forced to protect users from being exposed to such content rather than waiting for it to be flagged.

Under changes to the draft legislation announced yesterday, the Government has also added three new criminal offences to deal with internet trolls. 

The worst offenders could be jailed for up to five years for threatening to kill MPs and celebrities. 

Spreading Covid-19 disinformation would also be covered under a crime of sending a false communication.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said the updates would ‘bring the full weight of the law against those who use the internet as a weapon to ruin people’s lives’. 

The Government is looking at ways to strengthen the draft Bill. It is understood more changes are likely to be announced before it is put to Parliament, which is expected within the next month.

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