Online Harms - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:55 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour 5:55 pm, 8th April 2019

My Lords, we must not delude ourselves; despite everything the major internet giants and the social media platforms say about how they are trying to advance the cause of humankind and make things better for us, they are there to make profit—to make money. In the same way as when you are dealing with a chap and you grab him by a certain part of his anatomy, his mind follows, if you grab their money, their minds will follow. Anything we do about punishing must focus on the money side, because that will grab their attention.

When we talked about the international side of things some years ago, we were concerned about countries such as China and Russia, which immediately said, “Oh yes, this sort of control is a wonderful thing”, and we had to be careful to get ourselves unwound from that. Have we had any international discussions at all yet about what we are proposing in this White Paper?