Amendment 124

Part of Online Safety Bill - Committee (8th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 10:30 pm on 23 May 2023.

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Photo of Lord Allan of Hallam Lord Allan of Hallam Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Health) 10:30, 23 May 2023

I think it is actually quite important that there is—to use the language of the Bill—a risk assessment around the notion that people might game it. I thought the noble Baroness, Lady Gohir, made a very good point. People are very inventive and, if you have ever engaged with the people who run some of those big US misinformation sites—let us just call them that—you will know that they have very inventive, very clever people. They will be looking at this legislation and if they figure out that by opening a UK office and ticking all the boxes they will now get some sorts of privileges in terms of distributing their misinformation around the world, they will do it. They will try it, so I certainly think it is worth there being at least some kind of risk assessment against that happening.

In two years’ time we will be able to see whether the bad thing happened, but whether or not it is the Minister having a conversation with Ofcom now, I just think that forewarned is forearmed. We know that that is a possibility and it would be helpful for some work to be done now to make sure that that is not a loophole that none of us want, I think.