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Delays to the Online Spying Bill.

One positive to have come out of Labour’s efforts to play political games by pushing for a no confidence vote in Parliament was the delay to the debate on the Online Safety Bill. It leaves this Party able to speak its mind for a little while longer before being subject to yet more censorship from Nick Clegg and his ilk.

From its beginnings under Theresa May’s government, this Bill, a virtual snooper’s charter, is the biggest threat to online privacy ever. Not even messages via apps like Whatsapp and Signal would be safe from interception from the beefed -up powers of Ofcom, which is already hiring vast numbers of extra staff in anticipation of the Bill becoming law.

And well they might, for of the current six leadership contenders, only Kemi Badenoch has raised substantial misgivings about it. It basically means the death of free speech.

One area that often receives public support is the idea of porn passports, which, despite much derision in 2019, return to the fore. Technically this is a system of age checks; porn websites will have to show anyone visiting from a UK IP address a landing page that doesn't show any explicit content.

There's one thing that's certain: this approach is the first set of age checks being placed on porn anywhere in the world. VPN operators must be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of so much impending business. Setting a VPN up is so easy that the children the law is meant to protect won't find any difficulties in subverting its purpose.

Don’t just believe me, listen to Ruth Smeeth, CEO of campaign group Index on Censorship and former Labour MP, welcomed the bill's passage through Parliament being paused. She said: "This is a fundamentally broken bill - the next prime minister needs a total rethink.

"It would give tech executives like Nick Clegg and Mark Zuckerberg massive amounts of control over what we all can say online, would make the UK the first democracy in the world to break encrypted messaging apps, and it would make people who have experienced abuse online less safe by forcing platforms to delete vital evidence."

Massively increased size and costs of operating both Ofcom and the BBFC only exacerbate the whole nightmarish picture. It is truly a libertarian nightmare and this party opposes it absolutely.

Martin Day - Party Secretary

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