'Tech bosses should face the threat of being thrown in jail under ‘chilling’ regulations aimed at clamping down on web giants, MPs have demanded.
A parliamentary committee called for the internet watchdog to be handed wide-ranging powers despite concerns they could strangle the freedom of the Press.
The Government has said the role of the media will be protected after criticism that its Online Harms White Paper paves the way for totalitarian-style censorship.
But MPs on the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) Committee insisted that the regulator should be armed with hard-hitting powers.
The committee told the Government it wants a statutory veto over the hiring and firing the regulator’s chief executive.
It further called for ‘custodial sentences’ to follow any breach of the draconian rules placed on digital companies. Critics last night warned that the demands could lead to a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech.
Former culture secretary John Whittingdale warned there is a ‘serious risk’ to the UK tech industry, saying broadly defined rules could deter small businesses from starting up.
He stressed: ‘If the regulations are ill-defined it could have a chilling effect. I think you need to be targeted and proportionate and bear in mind the risks.’
Daniel Pryor, of the Adam Smith Institute free market think-tank, said the committee wants ‘to beef up a new super-regulator by giving it the power to jail executives of firms that fail to censor loosely defined, completely legal speech’.'
Source - Daily Mail
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