Extracts From ISD’s Submitted Response to the UK Government Online Harms White Paper

On 8th April 2019, the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) released its much-anticipated Online Harms White Paper, setting out a range of proposed legislative and non-legislative measures to tackle online harms ranging from illegal (e.g. terrorist content) through to harmful but not necessarily illegal online behaviour.

In response to a call for consultations on the White Paper, ISD provided a submission that was developed in collaboration with Demos, Luminate, Digital Action, and grounded in discussions held with a variety of other relevant civil society organisations.

A core aspect of this submission focused on the questions of transparency, public and private online spaces, safety by design and educating and empowering internet users, as well as feedback on the proposed regulatory scope, proportionality and oversight.

The Long Tail of Influence Operations: A Case Study on News Front

This case study examines two websites and two blogging accounts which appear to be linked to News Front, a Crimean-based news organisation previously accused of being a source of pro-Kremlin disinformation and influence operations. While the impact of the site’s activity is low, the case study provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the broader disinformation ecosystem and sheds light on the long tail of state-linked online assets.