8th July 2021 ✦ Willsy (RGB)
In the soviet union there was a thing called Pravda, meaning “truth”. Pravda was the national newspaper which the government printed and which contained the government’s lies that they were protecting people and definitely not committing a holocaust via death-camps. If you published something that was not approved of by the government, they would call you a criminal and very probably lock you up in one of these death camps. Just like the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s 1984, the government only allowed people to know what they said they could know, in order to be able to control them.
In the last few weeks the communist Johnson regime, in true Stalinist fashion has published a new draft bill, the so-called online safety bill, which has the potential to be one of the most significant attacks on free speech in modern times and would mark the end of the free press. Indeed, the bill is as much related to online safety as the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) is a people’s democratic republic.
It has been described by the Free Speech union as the “counter-reformation of the internet” and by the Adam Smith Institute as doing “more or less nothing” to deal with actual issues of harm.
Before we begin our analysis we’d like to sincerely ask you to join our Telegram broadcast channel as soon as possible, given the growing censorship which we’re now facing. If you want keep seeing our content, to see our content unfiltered and to support Resistance GB, one of the best ways you can help is to support us on alt-tech like Telegram and Odysee. We could be booted from mainstream platforms any second as the only way to keep up with the truth is to follow us somewhere where we can speak freely.
To return to the draft bill, it’s huge, but we’ve spent days analysing it alongside the reliable expert opinion on its content. The bill is created to control large social media companies and search providers and through control of them threatens to do the following:
Ignore any concept of parental responsibility for their children
Censor speech which is completely legal but which it arbitrarily deems harmful
Create a special class of mostly big media organisations which are exempt from any censorship
Put significant and arbitrary barriers to access for small media organisations and citizen journalists
Significantly impair the ability of whistle-blowers to remain anonymous
Cause outright bans via geo-blocking on free speech platforms
Result in mass censorship of pornography
Turn Ofcom into a de-facto legislative chamber
Block people from meaningfully using their social media accounts without providing a passport or similar ID
Wipe out growth for any UK-based tech platforms
Reduce all normally accessible content on major sites to children’s content and state controlled propaganda
What’s the spin?
The draft bill pitches itself as a bill to defeat dis and misinformation, protect children and even protect free speech. The government states that:
“Ministers have added landmark new measures to the Bill to safeguard freedom of expression and democracy, ensuring necessary online protections do not lead to unnecessary censorship.”
Going on to state that:
“The draft Bill marks a milestone in the Government’s fight to make the internet safe.”
…as if government, by censoring speech, is somehow protecting it. This is like stating that people should play in the traffic to avoid their own deaths.
As has been repeatedly and empirically proven, the only functional way to defeat disinformation or misinformation is through a free market of ideas, where bad ideas are exposed. In the words of John Stuart Mill:
“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
The best example of this is when the BNP were put on Question Time in 2009, leading to their exposure as a racist party and subsequent collapse.
The British public is perfectly able to process information which they are given and make choices upon that basis, which is the basis of democracy, given the free flow of information so that bad ideas can be challenged.
Yet it’s clear upon reading this that the criminal class in Whitehall does not trust the public to make their own decisions and would rather feed them the information which they themselves prefer to be propagated. Any language talking about the protection of free speech is completely contradicted by the text of the draft bill.
Abandonment of Parental Responsibility
The draft bill implicitly asserts that parents are not responsible for what they choose for their children to see. Instead, large media companies, called “category 1 providers” are responsible. The Government states:
“The Online Safety Bill establishes a new regulatory regime to address illegal and harmful content online, with the aim of preventing harm to individuals in the United Kingdom. It imposes duties of care in relation to illegal content and content that is harmful to children on providers of internet services which allow users to upload and share user-generated content (“user-to-user services”) and on providers of search engines which enable users to search multiple websites and databases (“search services”).”
Indeed, if a parent gives their young child a smartphone to play a ghastly mobile game on, with access to the internet, how could they have known that their child might stumble across hardcore pornography?
When an adult pours a glass of bleach and puts it in front of a child, how could they have known that their child might drink it and die?
Do not worry, say the government! You aren’t responsible for developing a relationship build on trust, honesty and respect so that your children listen to you and come to you truthfully if they’ve done something wrong. You aren’t responsible for restricting internet access by your children until they are mature enough to be able to understand things that they see without being scarred.
Censoring content hosted on large social media companies and search providers won’t remove adult content from the internet for children to find and it won’t protect children. What it will do in effect is lull parents into a false sense of security and let to normalise unsupervised internet browsing for younger and younger children, putting them in far more danger than existed previously…
So-called Lawful but harmful speech
The concept of lawful but harmful speech is an anathema to the rule of Law, although many other abuses and atrocities committed by the state are also that, so this should not come as a surprise. The Government states:
“Alongside illegal content and activity, there are increasing levels of public concern
about online content and activity which is lawful but potentially harmful. This type of
activity can range from online bullying and abuse, to advocacy of self-harm, to
spreading disinformation and misinformation. Whilst this behaviour may fall short of
amounting to a criminal offence, it can have corrosive and damaging effects, creating
toxic online environments and negatively impacting users’ ability to express
So shall we just ban it then? Shall we just ban ideas which the government, possibly the largest spreader of disinformation or misinformation in the UK, classes by its own standards as disinformation or misinformation.
What about stating that the courts are corrupt? Disinformation
What about stating that Englishmen have inalienable rights? Disinformation
What about stating that mass migration hurts working class people? Disinformation
What about stating that free markets and competition raise up all sections of society? Disinformation.
Depending, of course, on whether the government fancies you saying it or not.
Feel free, of course, to state these things offline, that is when you are allowed to leave your houses without threat of violent attack by the government.
Abolition of the Free Press & The Special Class of Establishment Mouthpieces
Over the last decade and especially over the last few years there’s been meteoric rise of independent journalism, of which we at Resistance GB have been part. Trust is much like a resource. Trust can be earnt and trust can be spent, and in recent years it’s clear that the mainstream media is going bankrupt. Trust in the MSM is at unprecedented lows.
But the government couldn’t possibly rule without their controlled opposition on the MSM as it provides the illusion of free discussion, the illusion of a market place of ideas and so helps to keep the masses in their conformity.
England, by Law, has a free press. This means that any person can become a journalist. Any person can decide to record and report events. And any person can criticise the way in which they do that.
Not satisfied with the continued violent assaults, harassment, threats and intimidation against us an our colleagues, the government seeks to end this by creation of a special class, more or less under their control, known as “recognised news publishers”.
Whilst most large media organisations are at the moment, subject to the terms and conditions imposed by social media companies, the government would like to privilege them from these and any new restrictions which the government imposes. This will mean that these organisations will be the only ones who are allowed to effectively speak on them.
The Requirements for Special Treatment
What are the requirements for this special treatment?
First the removal of anonymity from whoever runs the organisation. This means that any whistle-blowers would be in perhaps life-threatening danger.
Next, a standards code including complaints procedures, which an organisation may write itself. However, what classes as an “acceptable” standards code will just be one method via which this can be abused.
A public address. Even though a complaints procedure must be completed, an address must be made publicly available, which is the case of small start-ups means opening yourself up to people attacking you in your home. Of course, you are welcome to use a registered business address and a P.O. box, but that would set you back hundreds of pounds.
Multiple people. This is possibly the most nonsensical item of all. The idea that one person could not independently do journalism by themselves is ridiculous, and simply an additional barrier to entry for individual journalists like Subject Access whilst people like Owen Jones with his team of employees goes unmolested.
And finally, even if you were to meet all of these requirements, what is there to say that Ofcom, who are given oversight over all of the censorship, would not simply label your content harmful misinformation and claim that the earlier sections of the bill invalidate the fact that you’ve jumped through all of the hoops, having this held up by one of the corrupt courts?
What are the other Implications?
The End of Privacy or Mass Restriction of Content
The attacks on what content can be shown on social media sites are likely to lead big tech companies to require age verification via ID, ending the concept of anonymity online, which has for a long time been the foundational benefit of the internet, that people can speak freely.
Either give the company your ID and let the government, who illegally spy on you, know exactly what you are doing, or be restricted to kiddies content mixed with government propaganda. Because of course, government propaganda by the media organisations they choose to allow to survive is great for kids.
Geo-Blocking of Free Speech & Other Platforms
It’s likely that free speech platforms that won’t comply will simply be blocked. Odysee, BitChute, Brand New Tube and others may be inaccessible without a VPN. And even with a VPN, when so many entry-level users simply can’t access the content, the quantity and quality of content will drop compared with where it could be, meaning that the large incumbent platforms would be here to stay without meaningful competition, happy to benefit from a relatively free market until they’re in a position to cut out their .
Out of all of the free speech platforms, the one likely to survive the best is Telegram, which successfully pushed back Russian Government attempts to censor them around a decade ago through a host of different means. This is why we’re asking you to join us there first and foremost.
Mass Censorship of Pornography
Something that’s not been picked up on is the mass censorship of pornography which will likely result from the ban on large social media sites, pushing people to use smaller and likely less monitored sites which may be more likely to have illegal or disturbing content.
Destruction of UK Social Media Platforms
The hopes of the UK having it’s own silicone valley have existed for a long time, and with a large English speaking population it was a hope that British businesses such as Bitchute would eventually be able to rival Youtube. Yet now without the ability to corner the domestic market, it’s likely the UK will be possibly one of the very worst countries in the world to setup a business.
Ofcom – Ministry of Truth
The establishment of Ofcom as the arbiter of all of these matters, a de-facto legislature, with minimal parliamentary oversight essentially forms a ministry of truth. That which is permitted by Ofcom goes. That which is not permitted must be silenced.
A man should only wish the government the powers he would be comfortable with being in the hands of his worst enemy.
What this draft represents is the power over the entire future of our country being vested into the hands of a small class of criminals to the purpose of furthering their own interests at the expense of the nation.
None of this is lawful. It is not lawful for a government to dictate what you can or can’t say, who you can or can’t see and what you can or can’t own. But that will not stop the criminals in power.
This draft must be ditched. It is clear that democracy in this land is little more than an illusion. Yet still, you should write to your MP, point out what I’ve raised and campaign as must as you can against it, because every normal avenue must be exhausted.
However, we must all prepare for what is coming by making sure that you’re able to keep yourself informed. Join us on Telegram and Odysee, but also join anybody else on alt-tech who you like. Don’t let them take away your power to stay informed. Knowledge is power and to take power back from the hands of the criminals in Whitehall is the first step towards holding them to account for these crimes.
Please do subscribe to us on alt-tech. All the best.
“Ministers have added landmark new measures to the Bill to safeguard freedom of expression and democracy, ensuring necessary online protections do not lead to unnecessary censorship.”
“The largest and most popular social media sites (Category 1 services) will need to act on content that is lawful but still harmful such as abuse that falls below the threshold of a criminal offence, encouragement of self-harm and mis/disinformation. Category 1 platforms will need to state explicitly in their terms and conditions how they will address these legal harms and Ofcom will hold them to account.”
“Freedom of expression
The Bill will ensure people in the UK can express themselves freely online and participate in pluralistic and robust debate.
All in-scope companies will need to consider and put in place safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties. These safeguards will be set out by Ofcom in codes of practice but, for example, might include having human moderators take decisions in complex cases where context is important.
People using their services will need to have access to effective routes of appeal for content removed without good reason and companies must reinstate that content if it has been removed unfairly. Users will also be able to appeal to Ofcom and these complaints will form an essential part of Ofcom’s horizon-scanning, research and enforcement activity.
Category 1 services will have additional duties. They will need to conduct and publish up-to-date assessments of their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate they have taken steps to mitigate any adverse effects.
These measures remove the risk that online companies adopt restrictive measures or over-remove content in their efforts to meet their new online safety duties. An example of this could be AI moderation technologies falsely flagging innocuous content as harmful, such as satire.
Ministers have added new and specific duties to the Bill for Category 1 services to protect content defined as ‘democratically important’. This will include content promoting or opposing government policy or a political party ahead of a vote in Parliament, election or referendum, or campaigning on a live political issue.
Companies will also be forbidden from discriminating against particular political viewpoints and will need to apply protections equally to a range of political opinions, no matter their affiliation. Policies to protect such content will need to be set out in clear and accessible terms and conditions and firms will need to stick to them or face enforcement action from Ofcom.
When moderating content, companies will need to take into account the political context around why the content is being shared and give it a high level of protection if it is democratically important.
For example, a major social media company may choose to prohibit all deadly or graphic violence. A campaign group could release violent footage to raise awareness about violence against a specific group. Given its importance to democratic debate, the company might choose to keep that content up, subject to warnings, but it would need to be upfront about the policy and ensure it is applied consistently.
Content on news publishers’ websites is not in scope. This includes both their own articles and user comments on these articles.
Articles by recognised news publishers shared on in-scope services will be exempted and Category 1 companies will now have a statutory duty to safeguard UK users’ access to journalistic content shared on their platforms.
This means they will have to consider the importance of journalism when undertaking content moderation, have a fast-track appeals process for journalists’ removed content, and will be held to account by Ofcom for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content. Citizen journalists’ content will have the same protections as professional journalists’ content.”
Content is within this subsection if the provider of the service has reasonable
grounds to believe that the nature of the content is such that there is a material
risk of the content having, or indirectly having, a significant adverse physical
or psychological impact on a child of ordinary sensibilities (“C”).
White Paper Section 40:
40 Meaning of “recognised news publisher”
(1) In this Part, “recognised news publisher” means any of the following entities—
(a) the British Broadcasting Corporation,
(b) Sianel Pedwar Cymru,
(c) the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Act 1990 or 1996 who publishes news-related material in connection with the broadcasting activities authorised under the licence, and
(d) any other entity which— (i) meets all of the conditions in subsection (2), and (ii) is not an excluded entity (see subsection (3)).
(2) The conditions referred to in subsection (1)(d)(i) are that the entity—
(a) has as its principal purpose the publication of news-related material, and such material— (i) is created by different persons, and (ii) is subject to editorial control,
(b) publishes such material in the course of a business (whether or not carried on with a view to profit),
(c) is subject to a standards code, 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Online Safety Bill Part 2 — Providers of regulated services: duties of care Chapter 6 — Interpretation of Part 2 37
(d) has policies and procedures for handling and resolving complaints,
(e) has a registered office or other business address in the United Kingdom,
(f) is the person with legal responsibility for material published by it in the United Kingdom, and
(g) publishes— (i) the entity’s name, the address mentioned in paragraph (e) and the entity’s registered number (if any), and (ii) the name and address of any person who controls the entity (including, where such a person is an entity, the address of that person’s registered or principal office and that person’s registered number (if any)).
(3) An “excluded entity” is an entity—
(a) which is a proscribed organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000 (see section 3 of that Act), or
(b) the purpose of which is to support a proscribed organisation under that Act.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (2)—
(a) news-related material is “subject to editorial control” if there is a person (whether or not the publisher of the material) who has editorial or equivalent responsibility for the material, including responsibility for how it is presented and the decision to publish it;
(b) “control” has the same meaning as it has in the Broadcasting Act 1990 by virtue of section 202 of that Act.
(5) In this section— “news-related material” means material consisting of—
(a) news or information about current affairs,
(b) opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs, or
(c) gossip about celebrities, other public figures or other persons in the news;
“publish” means publish by any means (including by broadcasting), and references to a publisher and publication are to be construed accordingly;
“standards code” means—
(a) a code of standards that regulates the conduct of publishers, that is published by an independent regulator, or
(b) a code of standards that regulates the conduct of the entity in question, that is published by the entity itself.