Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online. Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works. "Some people say that it is not for the government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet," it states. "We disagree."
Senior Tories confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online.
The plans will allow Britain to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet", the manifesto claims. It comes just soon after the Investigatory Powers Act came into law. That legislation allowed the government to force internet companies to keep records on their customers' browsing histories, as well as giving ministers the power to break apps like WhatsApp so that messages can be read. The manifesto makes reference to those increased powers, saying that the government will work even harder to ensure there is no "safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online". That is apparently a reference in part to its work to encourage technology companies to build backdoors into their encrypted messaging services – which gives the government the ability to read terrorists' messages but also weakens the security of everyone else's messages, technology companies have warned.
The government now appears to be launching a similarly radical change in the way that social networks and internet companies work. While much of the internet is currently controlled by private businesses like Google and Facebook, Theresa May intends to allow the government to decide what is and isn't published, the manifesto suggests.
The new rules would include laws that make it harder than ever to access pornographic and other websites. The government will be able to place restrictions.