Saturday 9 March 2019 9:05 am

House of Lords calls for tougher rules on tech firms

A new report from the House of Lords has called upon tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter to improve their "inadequate" responses to privacy breaches and anti-social content. 

The report, which comes in the wake of the high-profile data breaches such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, has also suggested that a digital authority is created to provide laws that keep pace with the ever-evolving technology sector. 

"Self-regulation by online platforms which host user-generated content, including social media platforms, is failing. Their moderation processes are unacceptably opaque and slow," said the report, Regulating in a Digital World.

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The Internet Association, which includes members such as Twitter, Google and LinkedIn, said all the firms within their trade association were committed to protecting their users and removing harmful content as quickly as possible.

"Our members work hard to keep their services free of some of the most serious issues that the report mentions – from strong terms and conditions; to investment in hiring teams and improving systems for removing inappropriate content," a spokesman from the lobby group said.

But Lord Gilbert of Panteg, who chairs the Lords Communication Committee, said current legislation was not moving in line with the speed that technology is taking over daily life. 

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"We have become so dependent on a very small number of companies and platforms," Gilbert told the BBC. 

"Tech companies have a special responsibility, yet they have not done enough to reduce online harm.

"Harmful, anti-social content – available freely on many platforms – is now greater than ever before," he added.