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Peers seek Law Commission views about Online Safety Bill

Monday 22 March 2021 

Peers will quiz senior Law Commission figures tomorrow (Tuesday 23 March from 3.00 p.m.) when the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee continues its inquiry into freedom of expression online.

The committee will also explore independent perspectives on digital platforms with a former Google executive and a law professor.

The committee will hear from:

At 3.00 p.m.

  • Professor Penney Lewis, Commissioner for Criminal Law, Law Commission
  • Dr Nicholas Hoggard, Lead Lawyer (Protection of Official Data and Online Communications), Law Commission

Likely questions and topics of discussion include:

  • Has the Commission taken into account that the Online Safety Bill will require social media companies to decide what content is illegal?
  • Are you concerned that the Commission’s proposal to criminalise all speech intended to stir up hatred - even if not threatening, abusive, or insulting - could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression?

At 4.00 p.m.

  • Ross LaJeunesse, former Google Global Head of International Relations
  • David Kaye, Clinical Professor of Law, University of California (and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression) 

Likely questions and topics of discussion include:

  • How do platforms’ business models shape their approach to freedom of expression?
  • Do the UK Government’s Online Harms proposals threaten freedom of expression?

The session will be live on Parliament TV.

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