Priti Patel considering removing right to anonymity on social media to stop ‘relentless’ MP abuse 1 month ago

Priti Patel considering removing right to anonymity on social media to stop ‘relentless’ MP abuse

Good idea, or worst idea ever?

Home Secretary Priti Patel is considering removing anonymity on social media amid the investigation into the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

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Patel hopes to stop the “cruel and relentless” abuse of MPs, dubbing it “appalling”, reports the Independent.

“We can’t carry on like this,” she said.

Speaking on Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Patel said: “This is about wider public discourse and I would go as far to say social media and anonymity on social media, where Members of Parliament are the subject of some of the most cruel comments and attacks, and they are relentless.

“I’ve seen my colleagues go through some of the most appalling attacks online, and I have as well.”

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When quizzed on legislation, she replied: “I want us to look at everything and there is work taking place already.

“We’ve got an Online Harms Bill that will come to parliament. There’s work taking place on it right now.”

She continued to say she has done a lot on social media but this has usually related to encryption.

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But we can’t carry on like this. I spend too much time with communities who have been under attack, who’ve had all sorts of postings put online and it’s a struggle to get those postings taken down. We want to make some big changes on that.”

But the idea is not without its criticism, with Shadow Secretary Lisa Nandy standing in opposition.

“The difficulty with removing anonymity altogether is that you’ve got pro-democracy protesters and campaigners, you’ve got whistleblowers, people around the world who sometimes have to use some level of anonymity in order to make themselves heard,” Nandy told Trevor Phillips.

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She added: “It is a bit rich for the home secretary to say that she takes that very seriously when the government have been dragging their feet on this legislation for years and currently we’re at a situation where they’re not proposing that there’ll be any penalties for top executives of tech companies who don’t abide by the online proposed code if there are repeated breaches of that code.”

Despite Patel suggesting that the legislation would be “proportionate and balanced”, her past legislative suggestions don’t necessarily support that claim.

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