Outrage can’t make web safer, Ofcom chief warns after Paul Dacre criticism

Dame Melanie is hiring 150 new tech and cybersecurity staff at a new center in Manchester to help the regulator become the ‘Red Adair’ of big tech regulation, in reference to the firefighter who extinguished a burnt-out oil well with explosives.

However, she said the new laws would not mean regulating individual pieces of content because “the sheer volume would make it impractical,” but would hold companies accountable for how they use “algorithms, handle complaints and ensure consistency. safe experience for children ”.

“We will not act like a censor, prevent solid debate or trample on user rights,” she added.

“Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of the Internet. It is a foundation of democratic society, central to public life, and a value dear to Ofcom.

“Instead, our job will be to lift the ‘vague and murky uncertainty’ that hangs over research and social media.”

His comments come as Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, defended Permanent Secretary Sarah Healey, who was also attacked by Mr Dacre in a letter from The Times.

Referring to Ms Healey, Mr Dacre wrote: “Senior officials working from home so they can spend more time exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness, knowing that it is they. , not the elected politicians, who really run this country. “

In her first appearance before the culture committee, Ms Dorries said: “There are a lot of male permanent secretaries who have gone for their jogs every morning, or for their bike ride, or for their dog walking. had nothing to say about it. “

We need to expose technology algorithms and properly regulate social media

By Dame Melanie Dawes

Three years before composing the first modern algorithm, Ada Lovelace reflected on the potential of machines to master games like chess and solitaire. If a computer could achieve such a feat, where could it lead?

“I see nothing but a vague and murky uncertainty,” she confessed. “Yet I can see a very bright light much further away. “

Despite all his visionary genius in 1840, even Lovelace couldn’t foresee that algorithms would become the hand that guided people’s travel, shopping, and entertainment. More than that, they define our modern experience of being online, fueling what we see in search results and on social media.

Algorithms have personalized the Internet, created new business opportunities, and empowered ordinary people to speak to large audiences. With their ability to target online advertising, they have also fueled the rapid rise of billion-dollar tech giants.

But too often, companies seem to have prioritized growth over the security of their users. By designing their services to maximize reach, they may have inadvertently promoted harmful content: bullying or harassment, hate speech, self-harm. They may not be quick enough to tackle terrorism or sexual abuse.

Today, when people spend a quarter of their day connected to the Internet, security matters as much online as it always has been at home, at school or in the workplace. Six in 10 online adults – and eight in 10 older children – have had at least one harmful experience online in the past year. Most people support stricter rules.

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