back to article King Charles III signs off on UK Online Safety Act, with unenforceable spying clause

With the assent of King Charles, the United Kingdom's Online Safety Act has become law, one that the British government says will "make the UK the safest place in the world to be online." The Online Safety Act, which began in April 2019 as the Online Harms White Paper when Theresa May served as Prime Minister (before Boris, …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Safe

    "make the UK the safest place in the world to be online"

    So great, because we can't be safe on the streets. It's comforting to know you won't get stabbed while browsing Facebook.

    "This landmark law sends a clear message to criminals – whether it’s on our streets, behind closed doors or in far flung corners of the internet, there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes,"

    Why would they need to hide? The UK can't even catch a burglar.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Safe

      They certainly don't hide in the corridors of Westminster.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Safe

        No, they simply stroll there.

        I wonder if some New York (US) judge has some files that fomerly belonged to a dead, but coindicentally taller, American that would implicate C3? Or does the OSA not apply to your King?

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Safe

          That's his brother you're thinking of.

          Chas is the one who used to hang out with the tracksuit-wearing TV personality who did a lot of work for charity (particularly childrens' ones).

      2. Oh Matron!

        Re: Safe

        "This landmark law sends a clear message to Tory MPs – whether it’s on our streets, behind closed doors or in far flung corners of the Houses of parliament, there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes,"

        FIFY

    2. Captain Hogwash
      Big Brother

      Re: Safe

      If the politicos get their wish then the UK will be one of the least safe places to be online for anyone who might express some criticism of the government.

      This is what they're aiming for with this law.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Safe

        It's not criticism of the government they are avoiding, it's criticism of the permanent establishment.

        If the government of the day goes against net zero or any of the establishment's policies, you'll be free to criticise the government for that.

        If you call for Jihad in the streets or suggest people should throw battery acid at Nigel Farage then you're absolutely fine.

        Suggesting that Kahn's "stop the proles from travelling" cameras are a bad thing will get you on an alt-far-extreme-mega-right watchlist.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: Safe

          Quote:

          "Suggesting that Kahn's "stop the proles from travelling" cameras are a bad thing will get you on an alt-far-extreme-mega-right watchlist"

          Well it will make a change from being on the alt-far left commie watchlist for suggesting that companies share their profits with their workers...

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Safe

            If workers want a share of the profits, they are perfectly free to buy a share of the company.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Safe

              When many are claiming state benefits, yet working full time (or multiple) jobs in supposedly one of the top 10 richest economies on the planet, that's not a reality for them.

              But I guess your comment reflected the world from your (presumably well off) perspective...

            2. martinusher Silver badge

              Re: Safe

              A couple of things.....

              -- Workers create the profits by their labor. Its a simple transaction, selling skills and labor for money. This has to be periodically revalued since individual and collective skills and so value changes over time. In the US unions negotiate fixed length contracts. When these run out then a new contract is negotiated, or not as the case may be.

              -- Buying shares in a company is a very Old School way to get a cut of the profits. Especially are shares tend to be in classes often known as Ordinary and Preferred in the UK. Due to the increasing sophistication of financial engineering over the last couple of decades owning Ordinary shares and expecting dividends from them is more a pipe dream than reality, in practice the only profits to be had are from share price appreciation.

            3. veti Silver badge

              Re: Safe

              "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." - Anatole France.

            4. duggzdebuggz

              Re: Safe

              Not a factually or legally correct statement. Many types of company do not allow public shareholding. Private, or hedge companies or government or holding companies.

        2. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Safe

          Kahn's "stop the proles from travelling" cameras are bad not a thing

          They might be describable as "stop the proles from choking to death", but I would prefer to avoid hyperbole and stick to the facts.

          1. scrubber
            Mushroom

            Re: Safe

            "stop the proles from choking to death"

            Unless you pay us £12.50 in which case you can choke as many as you like.

          2. Grogan Silver badge

            Re: Safe

            I would prefer it if you took your upturned nose, and practiced trying to insert it in your rectum.

          3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

            Re: Safe

            @MyffyW

            " ... I would prefer to avoid hyperbole and stick to the facts."

            You're not from around here, are you?

        3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Safe

          Kahn's "stop the proles from travelling" cameras

          First you have to recognise the proles. Here's an excellent Twitter post on the effectiveness of CCTV cameras.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Safe

      "The UK can't even catch a burglar."

      Do they even try?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Safe

        No. They've ignored the repeated report of the cockend round the corner from us selling stolen airpods. "We're under staffed and there is no clear victim". I'm round the corner but one of my windows is on the corner of the street looking down it. The CCTV picks up all the action when in zoom mode. Doesn't help his case advertising it as an "Unwanted gift" on facebook. The unwanted gift thats sold about 20 times so far.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Safe

      "This landmark law sends a clear message to criminals – whether it’s on our streets, behind closed doors or in far flung corners of the internet, there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes,"

      Wow, that's taken sound bites to the next level. Very nice sounding and zero reality.

      1. Lon24

        Re: Safe

        The politicos may have not noticed that serious criminals are serious about their IT. Without budget constraints and clever devious minds will they outwit this blunderbuss of a law? Thinking imported mobiles, sideloaded apks and VPNs

  2. cyberdemon Silver badge
    Headmaster

    math doesn't bend

    Another example of the Americanisation of the Reg. Where's the Cheeseburger icon?

    Maths is short for Mathematics, not Mathematic.

    Maths doesn't bend. (But Grammar does, apparently)

    (And no, it shouldn't be "maths don't bend" either)

    1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

      Re: math doesn't bend

      "A math: one of whatever it is that maths is several of."

      Stolen from someone's explanation of Unix's meaning: "one of whatever it is that Multics is several of", I think courtesy of Ken Thompson or Dennis Ritchie.

      1. Forex

        Re: math doesn't bend

        Is math just mathematics without the additon, subtraction and division or any other operands?...because it's a singular item...so it's just the numbers.

    2. Michael Strorm Silver badge
      Trollface

      Poor, deprived Americans

      The Americans deserve our sympathy- after all, they only have the one math.

      1. KarMann Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Poor, deprived Americans

        Math: Not even once.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Poor, deprived Americans

          "Math: Not even once."

          Apparently, in Baltimore and the State of Oregon that statement is law. I've found out recently that those places have taken away basic maths requirements for high school graduation as it's racist and puts "people of color" at a disadvantage.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Poor, deprived Americans

            People of where?

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Poor, deprived Americans

              "People of where?"

              Way back before my time they used to say "colored people" but that's very racist so they changed the order of the words and now it's politically correct. <sigh>

          2. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Poor, deprived Americans

            "Apparently, in Baltimore and the State of Oregon that statement is law. I've found out recently that those places have taken away basic maths requirements for high school graduation as it's racist and puts "people of color" at a disadvantage."

            Nope, this is simply nonsense peddled by right wing "news" outlets (like the Daily Mail) in 2021.

            "Oregon state law requires that, in order to obtain a high school diploma, students must obtain at least 24 credits between grades nine and 12, including: at least three credits in math; at least four credits in English; three in science; and three in social science, among other prerequisites. In order to obtain those credits, a student is required to achieve at least a passing grade in each class. SB 744 will not change or remove those requirements.

            Although not codified in the same way as a standardized test, passing all those classes and obtaining the 24 credits required to get a high school diploma can quite reasonably be regarded as de facto proof that a student possesses the basic academic competencies at the heart of media coverage of SB 744 in August 2021."

            Oregon Senate Bill 744 has three principle effects:

            It orders the Department of Education (DOE) to conduct a review of the statutory prerequisites for obtaining a high school diploma in Oregon (including diploma options such as the "modified diploma," "extended diploma" and "alternative certificate"), and to make recommendations by September 2021

            It orders the DOE to conduct a review of statewide requirements for demonstrating proficiency in academic areas, with an emphasis on Essential Learning Skills, and to make recommendations by September 2021

            It suspends, until the end of the 2023/24 academic year, Essential Learning Skills as a prerequisite for graduation where a student has otherwise met the credit requirements for obtaining a diploma.

            This was done after the covid disruption to schools, the "essential learning skills" package was suspended (as explained above) but the existing 24-credit requirement for obtaining a high school diploma remains untouched.

            And nowhere is "disadvantage to coloured people" mentioned - this says rather a lot more about you, dont you think?

      2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Poor, deprived Americans

        Only one math?

        Would that be the aftermath?

        1. Kevin Johnston

          Re: Poor, deprived Americans

          One math to rule them all?

          I blame my daughter who is watching LotR at the moment in the next room

        2. Captain Hogwash

          Re: Poor, deprived Americans

          Cowboys International?

      3. Jedit Silver badge
        Joke

        "Americans [...] only have the one math."

        American mathematics, like democracy, makes for some great comedy. Stand up and be counted!

        1. midgepad

          Stand up and be

          Count.

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Stand up and be

            Oh hello, is that you Dracula

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: "Americans [...] only have the one math."

          "Stand up and be counted!"

          Stand up maths?

          I'm a fan of Matt Parker (and his wife Lucy too).

      4. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

        Re: Poor, deprived Americans

        So they have no polymaths?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Poor, deprived Americans

          I think Polymathery is only allowed in Utah

    3. Dave559

      Re: math doesn't bend

      But "math" is also short for mathematics! It just depends on how you wrote your regexp (and, yes, now you have 'n' problems…). I can see a fairly valid argument either way.

      (Although, yes, when referring to the UK the world outwith leftpondia, proper English spelling should be used: it will irritate the rest of the world far less, and the leftpondians don't care about the world beyond their borders anyway «ducks» ;-) )

      1. midgepad

        Re: math doesn't bend

        Maths is a contraction.

        Math. is an abbreviation, and is the same length in characters.

        Math is wrong because it omits the .

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: math doesn't bend

          I thought you bastards used a comma and not a period? Or is that just the French?

    4. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: math doesn't bend

      I used to think this but look it up and you'll find it appears we say it wrong. It should be math. I'm pretty sure Susie Dent as commented on this before.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: math doesn't bend

      The S on the end simply turns the adjective mathematic into a noun, same as for politic and politics. The shortened version, math, doesn't need that S to make it a noun, adding it makes it plural when mathematics is a singular noun and -a- field of study.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: math doesn't bend

        Do you say "how many app on your phone"?

        or "how many photo did you take"?

        or "how many gig of ram does it have"?

        No. If the full word ends in an "s", so does the abbreviation. Simple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: math doesn't bend

          Sorry, but that is completely silly . Unlike mathematics, applications is plural so it makes sense to say apps when talking about more than one or app when you're not.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: math doesn't bend

            ... so your beef is not with my logic. Your beef is whether it should be "mathematics" or "mathematic".

            That is a totally different argument.

            Call it "mathematic" and then you can shorten it to "math" . Simple.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. SCP

      Re: math doesn't bend

      Surely this is more an example of a US reporter using a US phrasing.

      I find The Reg better for having a broad range of journalists happy to write for it, any minor differfence in phrasing is just part of the rich tapestry of life - except when it comes to lego/legos.

      SCP

      personal nouns : maths/lego

    7. Wexford

      Re: math doesn't bend

      This math is not for bending?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: math doesn't bend

      This is theregister.com, it's not theregister.co.uk any more. It's an American site now.

      It's math, not maths. Maths just sounds stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: math doesn't bend

        Rename "mathematics" to "mathematic" and you can have your "math".

        Until then, stop whinging and use "maths" like all proper English speakers do!!

  3. simonb_london

    Correction:

    "This landmark law sends a clear message to OTHER criminals...

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Usual political meaning of "sending a message"

      It doesn't "send a message" to criminals. It sends a message to the people they want to vote for them and con into supporting this law on the basis they're supposedly doing something about it.

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Usual political meaning of "sending a message"

        That's what he said, you dummy.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Usual political meaning of "sending a message"

          The Tories: tough on crime, tough on magical solutions to crime

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: Usual political meaning of "sending a message"

            You'd have a point, if any other major party was opposed to these measures. But as far as I can make out, Labour and the Lib Dems both think the act doesn't go far enough.

        2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

          thats_NOT_the_joke.jpg

          OP's comment- as I read it- was a joke implying that the government themselves were a bunch of criminals who didn't want the competition.

          My comment wasn't a direct reply to theirs- it was a separate criticism of the same original phrase they'd drawn attention to. In this case, that the usual cliché about "sending a clear message to criminals", is- as always- tough-on-crime grandstanding whose "message" was only ever aimed at the electorate, not the criminals they wanted to pretend they were being tough on.

          Agree or not, I'm pretty sure that's a somewhat different point and not just what "he said, you dummy".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems you can fool most of the people

    Most of the time…

    Britain 2025, crime free and unicorn rides for all the kiddies!

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: Seems you can fool most of the people

      Well, lock up the unicorns in that case.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Seems you can fool most of the people

      unicorn rides for all the kiddies!

      2035: Turns out the unicorn was a nonce and media and government covered it up!

      1. NXM Silver badge

        Re: Seems you can fool most of the people

        You're talking nonce sense

        (extra points if anyone can remember Brass Eye)

        1. ChoHag Silver badge

          Re: Seems you can fool most of the people

          We've had much cake here to remember that far back.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Seems you can fool most of the people

            There's no evidence but it is scientific fact

  5. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

    The good news is that this falls into that new category of policy making so ably demonstrated by the Tories over the last decade, a "law in name only" which for any number of reasons (to take a recent example, when they conflict with the home secretary's personal beliefs) will serve no practical purpose.

    Between all this and the arse grabbing, cock flashing, (alleged) raping and constantly interviewing themselves on GB News, one wonders how there's any time left for effective governance.

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

      It's pretty easy to tell which ones are pervs because they have have names like Pincher, Flasher, Boner, Groper and Ripper.

      Nominative determinism. It's your own fault if you don't stay away from these people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

        It's pretty easy to tell which ones are pervs because they have have names like Pincher, Flasher, Boner, Groper and Ripper.

        Crispen seems to be very common as a 1st name too.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

      Between all this and the arse grabbing, cock flashing, (alleged) raping

      I'm quite happy this this stuff is getting called out now, as they've probably been doing it with impunity for many decades.

      "what's the world coming when you can't sexually harass your staff?"

      1. stiine Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

        Decades? Oh you poor, glaringly short-sighted peasant...Decades? I rather think its measured in centuries or perhaps millennia.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

        ""what's the world coming when you can't sexually harass your staff?""

        I was sort of looking at it from the other side. It's been a while since I've been sexually harassed and I'm feeling left out.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

      The Tories must be taking significant inspiration from the Soviet Union, where the doctrine was to create laws in such a way that they could always charge any person they didn't like with something.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

        The opposition are just as bad if not worse.

        Didn't Labour recently threaten to make "misgendering" a criminal offence with jail time?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

          No, this labour leader is the one that had all-night courts to deal with protestors

          1. AlbertH
            Mushroom

            Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

            No, this labour leader is the one that had all-night courts to deal with protestors

            No - this is the Labour leader that failed to prosecute any number of well-known kiddie fiddlers, can't define what a woman is, and changes his "mind" every hour.....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

          Yes. It's deffo Corbyn's fault. (A RWNJ would still be saying.)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

          Didn't the Tories derail measures against upskirting and FGM, hmm?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

            It wasn't "the Tories" it was a single MP, who happens to be a Tory.

            He took exception to the method being used to introduce the measure you mentioned as it was technically breaking the rules for making new laws.

            He is quite well known for doing this as he is keen to ensure that correct process is followed. He did not object to the intent of the proposal itself.

            1. ragnar

              Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

              Except he's also explicitly admitted that he lets bills proposed by his (inevitable right wing) friends in parliament sail through, so mysteriously it's only the progressive bills with a social justice angle that fall foul of his parliamentary games. He's a pompous bellend of the highest order.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

                He's a pompous bellend of the highest order, and he's a Tory MP - but I repeat myself

    4. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

      > one wonders how there's any time left for effective governance.

      Have you had a look around recently?

    5. jfm

      Re: Perhaps Ofcom will take inspiration from the Home Office

      > one wonders how there's any time left for effective governance…

      There clearly isn't any, based on the performance of this government.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes

    Considering what a huge mess she's made of policing and having enough prison places to put serious criminals, there will also be nobody looking for them, or punishing them if they happen to be caught either.

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes

      You forget that occasionally, they have justify their budgets, yes?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes

      There is no profit in locking people up, that costs money.

      The policy is to fine people, take some of their money, then set them loose to reoffend so you can take their more of their money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes

        There is no profit in locking people up, that costs money.

        It's a ~$70 billion industry in the US. You don't think the Tories are trying to work out how to cash in on it in the UK ?!

  7. heyrick Silver badge

    "covering child safety, pornography, and protecting women and girls"

    Get them to define what they mean by "girl", and explain the obvious sexism in not wanting to protect boys as well...

    ...that ought to tie 'em in knots and keep 'em busy for a while so the rest of us can get on with living in reality.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Maybe they don't want boys to be protected... wonder why? any guesses?

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    I call upon the government to go further

    This must be blocked at source and so ARM must be forced to ensure all their processors block material harmful to girls, Tory ministers or small cute animals the Mail on Sunday readers like.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: I call upon the government to go further

      This must be blocked at source

      For a moment I thought you meant the government must be blocked at source. That's a policy I could support.

  9. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

    If only we had a conservative party to rail against this.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      "If only we had a conservative party to rail against this."

      We can keep waiting but anything to the right of Stalin seems to be extreme right nowadays.

    2. Mooseman Silver badge

      "If only we had a conservative party to rail against this."

      You do - you just have a conservative party that's adopting more and more far right populist policies in order to desperately cling to power. In the past they'd have trashed the country then bunged the proles a 1p income tax cut to keep themselves in power but they have finally realised this isn't going to save them this time, so now they are trying to pretend that the readership of the Mail is enough to keep them elected.

  10. Dacarlo
    Thumb Down

    Opinion

    *slow clap clap clap*

    Utter bollocks.

    /blackadder

  11. s. pam Silver badge
    WTF?

    HRH needs a clue bag, and now!

    I'm sorry I suspect he was well intended but this will not work, will not be enforcable and Parliament will shred it into meaningless nothing before it is done.

    And our kids will still NOT be protected one iota and parents will continue to NOT educate their spawn

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

      Not that I'm a fan of the monarchy, to put it bluntly. But I'm pretty sure that Prince Charles'... sorry, The King's "signing off" of this was the usual formality, and he wouldn't have had much involvement or choice in the matter unless he wanted to go beyond his supposed role as a figurehead and interfere in the democractic process. Something which would, in turn, have almost certainly resulted in a constitutional crisis.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

        > Something which would, in turn, have almost certainly resulted in a constitutional crisis.

        Yes, but him cutting of the PM's head shouting "Now it's one-all, Mother-Fsckers" would probably have improved his public image

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

          s/of/off/ ($%^#$ing cell phone)

          1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

            Re: Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

            s/sckers/uckers

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

              I didn't want to cause alarm and the vapours among the innocent readers of el'reg - but it is important to check your parent's file system regularly

      2. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        Re: Ironically, HRH is just a pawn in this

        > The King's "signing off" of this was the usual formality,

        That is indeed the usual case, my understanding is that He is supposed to be the last bastion of democracy and if a law was clearly going to turn us into a Dictatorship or totally bypass parliament then He would be duty bound to reject it.

  12. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Megaphone

    It may be time to start a tradition with the Kings named "Charles" with an odd number, and get rid of the politicians who voted for that nonsense.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Boris as Lord Protector ?

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Great Replacemen

        Hmm.. Lords should follow the same way than Kings

      2. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        My God no. Almost anybody else though would do.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        More like Lord Procreator

      4. DancesWithPoultry
        Windows

        > Boris as Lord Protector ?

        With Farage as court jester?

        (Or should that be the other way around)

  13. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Challenges spawn workarounds

    Perhaps the Online Safety Act, with even more restrictive successors to be on the cards too, will provoke a flurry of workarounds. At the simplest level, the UK will see major uptake of foreign (outside Five Eyes jurisdictions) VPN services. The other Internet technology, one rapidly maturing in ease of use, to gain a boost shall be 'darknets'.

    The lead will come from bright young folk, starting with teenagers and college students. They will mature into people unwilling to submit to ridiculous diktat from, mostly, ignorant politicians. Privacy is becoming important in people's lives in respect to generally accessing information available on the Internet, but hidden behind paywalls or blocked by copyright rentier interests.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Challenges spawn workarounds

      That's the nice thing about the law. When circumvention is a crime, we're all criminals

      So the next time the Met accidentally shoot somebody for treading on the cracks in the pavement or possession of an offensive wife - they can produce evidence of VPN use to show he was a child abuser/terrorist/drug smuggler.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Challenges spawn workarounds

      "At the simplest level, the UK will see major uptake of foreign (outside Five Eyes jurisdictions) VPN services. "

      There's a lot of countries that you've rarely heard of with little in the way of natural resources that could earn some piles of money selling VPN services and numbered bank accounts.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really? "precludes private communication"/

    Quote: "...the Act's language could still be interpreted in a way that precludes private communication..."

    Really?

    Me and my mates do private encryption. So the spooks are welcome to read our emails and our Signal messages.

    All they will get out (even if Signal give them a "backdoor") is more encryption.

    Triple encrypted AES...no public keys...no transmitted keys.....

    Good luck with that in Cheltenhan or Fort Meade!

    1. OhForF' Silver badge

      What would actually happen

      >Good luck with that in Cheltenhan or Fort Meade!

      Mandatory xkcd what would really happen if the kingsmen were interested in your communication.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What would actually happen

        @OhForF'

        OK...So They beat me to death......because the Diffie/Hellman protocol means that I HAVE NO IDEA what secret key was used!

        Nice to know that violence is suggested as a way of subverting PRIVATE PRIVACY!!!! Well done!!!

        1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

          Re: What would actually happen

          > Nice to know that violence is suggested as a way of subverting PRIVATE PRIVACY!!!! Well done!!!

          Cut the hyperbolic, manufactured outrage.

          It's bloody obvious that neither OP nor the cartoon they linked to are "[suggesting violence] as a way of subverting PRIVATE PRIVACY!!!!", and are mocking the blinkered failure of those who don't understand how something is likely to play out in the real world.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Really? "precludes private communication"/

      >All they will get out (even if Signal give them a "backdoor") is more encryption.

      And all you will get is 5 years

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Love Your Response....

        @yet_another_anonymous_coward

        Quote: "...will get 5 years...."

        Ha!........innocent until proved guulty.......

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Love Your Response....

          >Ha!........innocent until proved guulty.......

          But you are guilty of failing to hand over your passwords when asked

          "Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) allows law enforcement to demand a suspect hand over the password to encrypted files (which they refer to as “key to protected material”), or to provide unencrypted copies of the material that agencies are after. If a suspect refuses to do this, it is considered an offence and, under section 53 of the same law, carries the possibility of up to two years imprisonment, and up to five years if the case is one of national security."

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Love Your Response....

            I've always wondered if the MPs who voted for that understood that they'd opened themselves up to imprisonment if they ever received an encrypted email.

            Or accessed anything via HTTPS, once their local cache cleared.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Love Your Response....

              They did, some campaign group sent emails filled with random numbers to the home secretary - but police explained that the law was only for use in serious cases such as checking if people lived in the right school catchment area

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: Love Your Response....

                I know they were told, but did they understand?

                My MP is wilfully ignorant on many things. I know he's required to maintain that state in order to keep the Tory whip, but one would hope the concept of personal criminal consequences might get through.

                (Eg in 2021 he told me that minimum wage care workers still have the advantage that they can be instantly deprived of 90% their income for two weeks by taking a free lateral flow test. Wilful stupidity.)

                Anecdotally, the prevalence of actual criminality seems to be remarkably high within politics compared to other industries. Has anyone done a study?

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Love Your Response....

                "serious cases such as checking if people lived in the right school catchment area"

                My youngest sister "lived" down the road at a friend of my mother's so she could go to a much better school. My other sister moved into a flat more expensive than she could really afford so my niece would be in a better high school. In both cases, the alternatives were rather seedy schools with mostly low-income students that had poor statistics when it came to standardized test standings.

  15. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Loneliest place

    If the UK doesn't watch out it could become the loneliest place on the Internet since companies will leave in droves if the anti-encryption clauses are ever activated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loneliest place

      @StrangerHereMyself

      Well....only if you rely on HUGE MEGA-CORPORATIONS to implement E2EE!!!!

      Some of us citizens have arranged private encryption to suit ourselves!!!

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Loneliest place

        You'll get 2 to 5 years in chokey if you don't hand over your encryption keys when requested:

        "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 part III (RIPA 3) gives the UK power to authorities to compel the disclosure of encryption keys or decryption of encrypted data by way of a Section 49 Notice. A suspect instructed to disclose keys can be prevented from telling anyone else about it, outside of their legal representative. Refusal to comply can result in a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment, or five years in cases involving national security or child indecency."

        https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000/Part_III

        1. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Loneliest place

          "You'll get 2 to 5 years in chokey if you don't hand over your encryption keys when requested:"

          More sane countries, like the one I currently live in, do not obligue me to disclose my private encryption keys / passwords. They only try to steal it - but it costs a lot more.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Loneliest place

          It does leave open the question, do the police have to prove they are encrypted files, or do you have to prove they aren't ?

          I used to work at a physics project that spent years generating insane quantities of random numbers mathematically indistinguishable from encrypted data

      2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Loneliest place

        There's no need to roll your own. There are plenty of open-source chat clients around that no government can break.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loneliest place

      “Companies will leave in droves”

      BREXIT rang, says back off!

      Keep off my turf.

  16. Tron Silver badge

    Age verification can kick UK netizens off all the regulated mainstream porn sites.

    Leaving them to trawl through less well curated East European and Asian image boards instead.

    Maybe British kids' Japanese and Serbian will improve as a result.

    Brexit will only be complete when the Great British Internet ends at Dover.

    1. Blazde Silver badge

      Re: Age verification can kick UK netizens off all the regulated mainstream porn sites.

      Almost none of the Japanese stuff will past muster with 'protecting women and girls' in the second set of codes. We'll have to watch that edgy American stuff where they beat up homeless men instead, because presumably that's still okay.

      1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Re: Age verification can kick UK netizens off all the regulated mainstream porn sites.

        > We'll have to watch that edgy American stuff where they beat up homeless men instead, because presumably that's still okay.

        I'd expect that to remain legal, since I can easily imagine it being the sort of thing that the benefits/underclass-demonising Tories in the Home Office and beyond would get themselves off to.

  17. tiggity Silver badge

    "it will begin consultation on illegal harms (e.g. terrorist content .. etc.)"

    I'm old enough to remember most Tories calling mandala & the ANC terrorists (& being filmed by the police & security forces when I attended demos opposing apartheid "white" SA govt back in the day)

    .. Yet years later, plenty of tory politicians fawned over Mandela almost as if he was a latter day saint (which he certainly was not).

    Terrorist will often be used for someone the govt (and / or their allies) dislike or is a risk to their geo political interests (look at current Israel / Palestine issue, where most of the world opposing the genocide inflicted on Gaza by Israel & a small number of countries (but pertinently, mainly the "western" countries) supporting Israel war crimes.

    ..the classic one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter scenario.

    e.g. in the UK Hamas would is treated as a terrorist group, but not in e.g. China.

    Lets go back to Mandela, given one of his famous quotes was

    "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

    Then in the current UK political climate he would probably be branded a terrorist all over again.& the wheel would have turned full circle.

    The bill is far too easily warped into a way to persecute anyone dissenting from the mainstream "approved" viewpoints as scope for all sorts of things to be deemed "illegal harms" nad used to suppress dissent (but ominously in step with recent anti protest legislation, lots of legislation that would not be out of place in a tin pot dictatorship) .

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Or that terrorist Gandhi, "one anorexic bloody loony in a loin cloth and we lost a whole sub-continent"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Anorexic bloody loony in a loin cloth ..

        > Or that terrorist Gandhi, "one anorexic bloody loony in a loin cloth and we lost a whole sub-continent"

        Water (1985) Handmade Films

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Anorexic bloody loony in a loin cloth ..

          One of those films you have fond memories of, but suspect would be a disappointment if you watched it again.

          my comrade (Billy Connelly!) will not speak until he can say Cascara is free.

          American: Is that a political posture or a speech impediment?

          1. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Anorexic bloody loony in a loin cloth ..

            "One of those films you have fond memories of, but suspect would be a disappointment if you watched it again."

            It wasn't great when I first watched it, although I did like the French mercenaries emergency field rations.

  18. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "This landmark law sends a clear message to criminals"

    The phrase used to be "[...] demonstrates that we take [whatever] seriously". But many years back a very wise peer of the realm said "criminal legislation should never be enacted merely to demonstrate that we take something seriously". Same applies to 'sending a message'.

    If laws that cannot be enforced effectively accumulate, the entire body of legislation falls into disrepute, and that actually encourages lawlessness. We lost the plot with the GDPR (which was actually reasonably enforceable if the appropriate effort had been made) but this one is pure Monty Python and can never be truly enforced. I envisage a plethora of interpretative issues and challenges but no concrete improvement in behaviours. And the predicted response of the criminals? Something on the lines of a two (UK) or one (USA) finger gesture.

    BTW, Royal Assent is a pure formality, so it's not Charles' fault.

    .

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The importance of encrypted communications

    You would think that King Charles would personally be very aware of the importance of encrypted communications.

    Exhibit A. One phone conversation, one sentence, which included the following word: "tampon".

    (Yes, I know that the UK monarch does not in effect really have the power to decline to give royal assent to Acts of Parliament.)

    1. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: The importance of encrypted communications

      Tampongate.

      Not that I do not like pu$sy when a woman is in her period, but I believe King Charles would've chosen more wisely to re-incarnate as a vibrator, than a tampon.

  20. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    Compliance obligations won't reverse the trend; they'll just pull out of the UK market if the UK goes nuts. So many nations think they have power over the megacorps; they don't. Those businesses are _protected_ from interference by US policy and governance, and an unhealthy number of purchased politicians.

  21. MachDiamond Silver badge

    What a waste of time

    The vast majority of people worry about being mugged in the street and robbed in their homes. It seems like so much effort is being put in by government to look after all of the children, they aren't paying much attention to the 'youths' hanging about on street corners after dark jus doin nuffin.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What a waste of time

      The majority of party supporters worry about whatever the party is telling them to worry about today.

      And they certainly don't live in the sort of 'estates' that have street corners

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK politics

    Kings, Lords, Peers, Class system, Wealth, Power and Influence.

    In-breeding aside, it’s no bloody wonder it’s a clusterfuck.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: UK politics

      What country would you like to point to as managing it better?

      The US? France? Israel, perhaps, or Hungary, Germany, or... Which country isn't a clusterfuck?

  23. steviebuk Silver badge

    ) :o(

    "This landmark law sends a clear message to criminals – whether it’s on our streets, behind closed doors or in far flung corners of the internet, there will be no hiding place for their vile crimes," said Home Secretary Suella Braverman in a statement.

    Out of touch, clueless, fuck whit.

  24. stewwy

    It's not the first

    I give you

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

    Which just proves the stupidity

  25. martinusher Silver badge

    I think their eye is on the prize

    Its all about shaking down Internet companies. You pass a vague law that's easily violated and then you fine the entity megabucks (literally) for violating it, or rather for failing to catch the violator.

    Easy money. Especially if you keep your penalties just low enough that it can be hidden in the 'cost of doing business'. (The only snag being that the UK may not represent enough of a business to be worth bothering with any more......)

    1. mpi Silver badge

      Re: I think their eye is on the prize

      > Easy money. Especially if you keep your penalties just low enough that it can be hidden in the 'cost of doing business'.

      Well, 10% of global turnover dertainly can't be hidden anywhere, so, I think it's not unlikely that companies may come to the conclusion that...

      > the UK may not represent enough of a business to be worth bothering with any more

      And good luck to anyone looking for votes, who 's opponents slogan reads "Remember that instant messaging you no longer have?"

  26. mpi Silver badge

    Well, let's work through this logically

    a) The major selling point of many messenger apps is that they are E2EE

    b) Any kind of backdoor means it's no longer E2EE

    c) Such a backdoor could either ...

    c.1) Be implemented in UK clients only, necessitating that UK users can no longer talk to non UK users, or...

    c.2) Be implemented globally, ending E2EE for ALL users of the app, or...

    c.3) Not be implemented at all, because the provider simply stops offering their services in the UK

    I have a hunch which option providers will chose when push comes to shove.

  27. herberts ghost

    I don't see how you would be able to have secure banking transactions across the pond when back-doors are mandated.

  28. frankyunderwood123

    The Great Firewall of Britain?

    Seriously, that's what this ridiculous bill amounts to.

    There is only one way to even begin to make this bill and thus online safety possible and that is to employ the same level of blocking and monitoring that China does.

    Of course, there is another way - it's called education.

    It's also called parental guidance.

    When I was a nipper in the 1970's, our parents hammered home to us to NOT talk to strangers, to understand the warning signs, to be cautious - above all, to be street wise and savvy.

    That was enough to keep most of us relatively safe - within reason.

    It's a harsh world, bad things happen.

    Education is the ONLY way to protect children online - to arm them with the know-how to avoid, as best they can, the bad things.

    The moment any government decides they have a better plan, is effectively the end of democracy.

    I think we're relatively safe right now though - the government we currently have are all about making noises rather than taking action.

    The signing of this bill will be very much "we've done our job".

    It will NEVER be enforced - it's just a bunch of hot air so government can say they've fixed it, simply because they say they have.

    Actions are not required, just saying you're doing it is good enough.

    Phew, for once, government incompetence saves the day...

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The Great Firewall of Britain?

      "Education is the ONLY way to protect children online - to arm them with the know-how to avoid, as best they can, the bad things."

      Parental monitoring is a good idea too. I was no angel when I was younger and often was pushing boundaries. Now there's the virtual world where "bad shit" is readily available. When I was young I couldn't visit an adult bookshop or cinema. I'd be grabbed by the collar on the way in. It was difficult (but not impossible) to buy beer and spirits. These days you can have all the pr0n you want just by clicking the yes box when a web site asks if you are over 18. Want some weed? Order online and have it delivered. Beer, again, order online and have delivered. The delivery driver has a quota to meet so isn't going to fret about ID if you will just scribble something on the signature line. YMMV, not available in all locations, consult your physician before doing anything, have your attorney on speed-dial.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Dagg Silver badge

    Rename required

    ... King CharlesCanute maybe.

    This is the same law they tried to introduce in Australia and failed.

  30. Libertarian Voice

    The first MP to be blackmailed because they have identified themselves to a ropey porn site and the whole lot will be repealed.

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