Twitter challenges Irish proposals for on-line security laws

Twitter directly challenges government online safety legislation by violently attacking its proposals to impose financial sanctions, block services, and criminally criminalize corporate executives for violating the law.

In his opening address to a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Communication, the social media giant argued that several of the planned sanctions would set a “global benchmark” that will have a chilling effect in other regions of the world.

“We contend that some of the sanctions currently being envisaged set an unhelpful international precedent: notably the magnitude of the proposed financial sanctions, the provision to block services and the criminal liability of senior management,” it said.

It is the second appearance for Twitter and Facebook before the committee last month. At the last meeting, committee members accused Twitter and Facebook (especially the former) of allowing anonymous accounts, trolling and abusing content.

The Twitter statement is sure to put the company on a collision course with several committee members, especially following the controversy over the anonymous account of former Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris.

“We are already seeing countries that impose criminal sanctions or complicate the business environment for platforms with undesirable positions on freedom of expression,” said the opening statement.

“The throttling and blocking of services is used to restrict citizens’ access to news, information and minority or opposition perspectives. And violations will result in custody threats for the company’s employees, ”the report said.

It was also alleged that some of the sanctions outlined would pose an “existential problem” to smaller businesses.

She warns the EU and the government to be “aware that the regulatory models and penalties they impose are being exported around the world to serve political agendas of all kinds”.

Twitter has argued that its anonymous accounts protect human rights defenders and whistleblowers in regions around the world where there are dictatorial regimes that suppress freedom of expression. However, at the last meeting, committee members argued that it was not right for Twitter to use this as a blanket defense to defend allowing anonymous accounts to be used for trolling or posting abusive content.

Twitter’s opening statement also warned that Ireland should be one step ahead of the EU on regulation and delay the adoption of provisions that overlap with the Digital Services Act.

It is also said that Twitter worked to promote healthy conversations online. The advanced “machine learning” now filtered 68 percent of all questionable content. It is said that 12 million accounts have been challenged worldwide.

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