Today the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched a new Sub-Committee on Disinformation. It will become Parliament's 'institutional home' for matters concerning disinformation and data privacy; a focal point that will bring together those seeking to scrutinise and examine threats to democracy. The launch of the Sub-Committee is marked by a report published today.
It builds on the knowledge and authority gained through the long running and high-profile inquiry into Disinformation and 'Fake News' which held 23 oral evidence sessions and heard evidence from 73 witnesses, resulting in the publication of two landmark reports.
Damian Collins MP sits as Chair with membership made up of the current membership of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. In line with new rules, the Sub-Committee plans to invite members of other committees to attend its meetings on an ad hoc basis.
The Sub-Committee plans to hold its first public meetings with several sessions in May and June including with the Information Commissioner’. Among other issues, they will discuss with her the Government's response to the DCMS Committee’s report on 'Disinformation and 'Fake News'', and the White Paper on Online Harms, due to be published shortly.
Damian Collins, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Disinformation said:
“As we stated at the time, our report on Disinformation and ‘fake news,’ was not the final word on the matter. We believe that there’s a strong public interest in establishing the Sub-Committee to continue probing ongoing threats posed by disinformation to democracies, athreat that hasn’t disappeared with the end of our inquiry. We look forward to continuing the highly important work that we have begun.
“Since beginning our investigations, tech companies have only shifted superficially in their approach to privacy, and only for the benefit of their own PR. It’s unacceptable and we must keep up the pressure for them to shift their approach to ensure people and their rights are protected.
“The launch of the Sub-Committee on Disinformation signals our commitment to ensure that new legislation and policies are sufficiently robust when it comes to protecting individuals from the insidious onslaught of disinformation and digital disruption. First on the agenda of the new Committee is scrutiny of the Government’s proposals to protect society against online harms and its response to the DCMS Committee’s report on Disinformation. ”
The Sub-Committee will also continue to work with other national parliaments through the 'International Grand Committee' including its second meeting, scheduled to take place in Canada at the end of May, taking evidence from tech firms.