Hancock’s secret meeting with Zuck

Online Harms

Jo Stevens is a member of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition.

She’s also the Shadow Media, Culture, & Sport Minister.

This tweet is her gloating at finally getting some detail of the clandestine meeting that took place between then Media Minister Matt Hancock and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Stevens is looking keen for the Online Harms Bill.

But what’s this?

Jo Steven’s Labour colleague Margaret Hodge is against online anonymity and backs the Online Harms Bill to protect her from the tens of thousands of abusive tweets she gets a month.

Stevens’ predecessor is Tom Watson, who got on very well with Margaret Hodge.


Watson, like Hodge, spent more of his time attacking then leader Jeremy Corbyn over allegations of antisemitism than he did on scrutinising the way media is governed.

So Watson, Hodge, Stevens, and Labour are all for the Online Harms Bill and dead against Jeremy Corbyn.

They think the Online Harms Bill can help them persecute the more left end of the Labour Party that supported Jeremy Corbyn.

Though Zuckerberg is not known as a Corbynista and Facebook’s advertising policy has been used to benefit the Conservatives far more than Labour, he will still be squeamish about cracking down on freedom of speech.


The double standards are obvious. Some messages are allowed to circulate but others are not.

Online behaviour is starting to be regulated, but who regulates the regulator?

Facebook has an Oversight Committee, sometimes referred to as a Supreme Court. This committee will have the final say over whether a post should be removed and why.

For now the Committee will not look into the issue of questioning deplatforming decisions.

The rationale for deplatforming is opaque – and not currently open to appeal. The left has suffered enormously due to the Facebook algorithm and its decisions to delete accounts.

Murdoch & Leveson

What did Hancock and Zuckerberg really discuss? Can’t have been that much. The real conversation is surely between lobbyists and lawyers.

Hancock made noise about policing Zuckerberg because Rupert Murdoch wanted him to.

Hancock cancelled the Leveson Inquiry to please Murdoch.

He argued that the papers had learned their lessons from the days of phone hacking, surveillance, bullying, entrapment and illegal data capture.

That the real threat to society comes from the online giants and that newspapers need to be protected from the likes of Facebook and Google.

UK tabloids pushed for Google and Facebook to be regulated even while they themselves sought to escape regulation by citing the need to protect the Freedom of the Press.

And there you have it.

Freedom is ok so long as it is for a Billionaire who owns a Newspaper.

Never argue with a man who buys his ink by the barrel

SIR JAMES MATHEW, an Irish judge at the turn of the 20th century, is said to have quipped that justice in England is open to all, “like the Ritz Hotel”.

And the Ritz is still owned by the tax-exile Barclay brothers who also own the Telegraph and the Spectator – publications that have paid Boris Johnson handsomely.

Matthew Gould : Surveillance Capitalism Spook

Matthew Gould was appointed to head NHSX, a digital form of the NHS, without any competition, temporarily, in April 2019.

Matt Hancock appointed him. He’s still there.

Gould obviously operates in a world of spies, mandarins and geostrategic military lobbyists – democracy and the rule of law mean nothing to him.

Before leaving Israel (he was the UK ambassador to Israel from 2010 to 2015) Gould controversially thanked the British Jewish community for the huge support it had shown Israel over the years.

Nothing wrong with stating a fact?

Maybe, but an inappropriate comment all the same.

It would be easy, from that statement, to think Gould was the Israeli ambassador and not the British one.

Conflicts of interest have nothing to do with race or religion. They are a very human condition that can apply to anyone, including Mr Gould.

I would argue that the consequences for the UK of not identifying and dealing with Mr Gould’s moral and ethical breaches have been enormous.

Thousands dead due to Coronavirus incompetence and countless more to suffer due to Gould’s lax attitude to medical privacy and data.

It should come as no surprise that NHSX Gould is more loyal to Silicon Valley than British citizens. His concern has been to promote the Cybersecurity Agenda and the interests of the large tech players.

Health data is of little concern to him. But he is concerned about Online Harms if they disrupt national security.

And by that we mean … Margaret Hodge.

Censorship levels have gone through the roof in 2020.

The UK is the first country to test the vaccine on its citizens and will be the first to deliver an Online Harms Bill.

But what will it contain and how will it be interpreted?

Will it be an excuse to launch raids on any person or organisation who expresses ideas that are at odds with government policy, or will it be used to fine and genuinely police the online giants?

The Great NHS Heist

For more on the connection between economic, health and data policies watch the Great NHS Heist by Dr Bob Gill & Drew McFadyen and featuring the late David Graeber :

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