UK Will Require Tech Firms to Verify User Identity When Posting Online

The UK is preparing to implement its Online Safety Bill, including provisions that will require tech firms to combat online trolls with ID verification....
UK Will Require Tech Firms to Verify User Identity When Posting Online
Written by Matt Milano

The UK is preparing to implement its Online Safety Bill, including provisions that will require tech firms to combat online trolls with ID verification.

The nature of the internet has often been at odds with societal good. By design, the internet was built around anonymity. In recent years, however, that anonymity has come under increasing scrutiny as online harassment and trolls have become a major issue. The issue has especially come into focus as anonymous accounts have been used to spread misinformation, often with far-reaching consequences.

The UK wants to address that issue by stripping away that anonymity and requiring tech companies to verify user identities, according to CNBC.

“Tech firms have a responsibility to stop anonymous trolls polluting their platforms,” U.K. Digital Minister Nadine Dorries said in a statement Friday.

“People will now have more control over who can contact them and be able to stop the tidal wave of hate served up to them by rogue algorithms.”

Needless to say, online platforms are not happy with the UK’s plans. Many online platforms, civil rights groups, and privacy advocates view anonymity as an important element to preserving people’s safety and privacy, especially against oppressive regimes.

The Online Safety Bill doesn’t specify how tech companies should implement ID verification, leaving them leeway to find the method that best fits. Some of the potential options include facial recognition, two-factor authentication, or verification with some form of government ID.

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