Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media would back the creation of an internet censor to set out a framework for internet companies in the UK, the House of Lords Communications Committee was told.
The three major UK ISPs were reporting to a House of Lords' ongoing inquiry into internet censorship. The companies' policy heads pushed for a new censor, or the expansion of the responsibility of a current censor, to set the rules for content
censorship and to better equip children using the internet amid safety concerns .
At the moment Information Commissioner's Office has responsibility for data protection and privacy; Ofcom censors internet TV; the Advertising Standards Authority censors adverts; and the BBFC censors adult porn.
Citing a report by consultancy Communications Chambers, Sky's Adam Kinsley said that websites and internet providers are making decisions but in a non structured way. Speaking about the current state of internet regulation, Kinsley said:
Companies are already policing their own platforms. There is no accountability of what they are doing and how they are doing it. The only bit of transparency is when they decide to do it on a global basis and at a time of their choosing. Policy
makers need to understand what is happening, and at the moment they don't have that.
The 13-strong House of Lords committee, chaired by Lord Gilbert of Panteg, launched an inquiry earlier this year to explore how the censorship of the internet should be improved. The committee will consider whether there is a need for new laws to
govern internet companies. This inquiry will consider whether websites are sufficiently accountable and transparent, and whether they have adequate governance and provide behavioural standards for users.
The committee is hearing evidence from April to September 2018 and will launch a report at the end of the year.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has called for the establishment of a new internet censor with tough sanctions to police what he considers to be the wild west of the internet
Tom Watson has accused companies of not removing 'fake news' stories that are spread like wildfire saying:
Social media companies should be hit hard with fines if they fail to take down abusive content=
Watson says Britain should follow the lead of Germany, which fines social media firms up to £45million for not taking down hate speech within 24 hours. He says:
The likes of Facebook and Twitter have refused to change. Authorities worldwide don't have the baby teeth, let alone the sharp teeth, to make them take notice. International regulatory regimes are outdated and dangerous.
He adds that the protection the firms have enjoyed as platforms rather than publishers needs to be withdrawn saying: they won't go to the lengths they need to unless they have a legal liability.