5 min read

UK safety bill "not technically feasible", ActiveFence acquires rival and familiar faces on AI list

The week in content moderation - edition #215

Hello and welcome to Everything in Moderation, your guide to the policies, products, platforms and people shaping the future of online speech and the internet. It's written by me, Ben Whitelaw and supported by members like you.

The thread that ties together this week's two biggest safety stories is realisation; for the UK government, there's a growing realisation that its regulatory ambitions may go beyond what's technically possible. And for two trust and safety startups, it's a literal realisation, a coming together via acquisition. Read on for more.

What is your view on these stories and today's edition? You hit the thumbs at the end of the newsletter, drop me an email or share today's edition via social media with your hottest take. I'm particularly interested in hearing from the newest EiM subscribers from Cinder, the Council for Foreign Relations, Spotify, Holistic AI, Mozilla Foundation, Linklaters, Tech Against Terrorism, DCMS and a host of others.

Here's everything in moderation from the last seven days — BW


New and emerging internet policy and online speech regulation

The UK government has seemingly conceded that the technology needed to scan encrypted messages and enforce the Online Safety Bill is "not technically feasible" at this point in time. The Financial Times reported comments from a junior minister during the third reading of the bill in the House of Lords, which came just weeks after secure messaging services threatened to pull out of the UK if the bill — described earlier this week by Wired as "a bad law" — was passed.

The story got a mixed reaction; privacy advocates saw it as win in the bill's long-running saga and possibly a sign that the legislation would be kicked into the long grass. However, others were sceptical of both the intended meaning of the comments and their supposed impact on the final legislation.

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