Amendment 10

Part of Online Safety Bill - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 25 April 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Kidron Baroness Kidron Crossbench 6:45, 25 April 2023

Far be it for me to suggest that all the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, are in the wrong place, but I think that Amendment 26 might have been better debated with the other amendments on age assurance.

On community moderation, I underscore the point that Ofcom must have a risk profile as part of its operations. When we get to that subject, let us understand what Ofcom intends to do with it—maybe we should instruct Ofcom a little about what we would like it to do with it for community moderation. I have a lot of sympathy—but do not think it is a get-out clause—with seeing some spaces as less risky, or, at least, for determining what risky looks like in online spaces, which is a different question. This issue belongs in the risk profile: it is not about taking things out; we have to build it into the Bill we have.

On age assurance and AV, I do not think that today is the day to discuss it in full. I disagree with the point that, because we are checking kids, we have to check ourselves—that is not where the technology is. Without descending into technical arguments, as the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, asked us not to, we will bring some of those issues forward.

The noble Lords, Lord Bethell and Lord Stevenson, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Oxford have a package of amendments which are very widely supported across the Committee. They have put forward a schedule of age assurance that says what the rules of the road are. We must stop pretending that age assurance is something that is being invented now in this Bill. If you log into a website with your Facebook login, it shares your age—and that is used by 42% of people online. However, if you use an Apple login, it does not share your age, so I recommend using Apple—but, interestingly, it is harder to find that option on websites, because websites want to know your age.

So, first, we must not treat age assurance as if it has just been invented. Secondly, we need to start to have rules of the road, and ask what is acceptable, what is proportionate, and when we will have zero tolerance. Watching faces around the Committee, I say that I will accept zero tolerance for pornography and some other major subjects, but, for the most part, age assurance is something that we need to have regulated. Currently, it is being done to us rather than in any way that is transparent or agreed, and that is very problematic.