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Sky chief blasts “tsunami of harms” from lack of online regulation

Jeremy Darroch wants regulators to take action against a 'largely lawless landscape'

Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch has called for regulators to take action against tech giants delivering a “tsunami of harms” through extremist propaganda and fake news.

Darroch claimed the likes of Facebook and Google are given a free pass to operate online with “no regulation, no accountability and little transparency”.

Speaking in Tallinn, Estonia, Darroch said: “It is no longer good enough to say the internet is untouchable and beyond the norms that the rest of our society has to operate to.

“That includes, by the way, the tax that firms operating in the internet economy are expected to pay.”

As well as Google and Facebook, Sky faces pay-TV competition from Netflix and Amazon, which pay very little direct UK tax, despite their millions of subscribers.

Darroch said: “I cannot be sure whether our family friendly brand is appearing alongside the vilest illegal content online. And if a company the size of Sky cannot hope to be certain, what chance has an individual, especially a minor, of keeping safe?”

He went on to claim that internet platforms, which are protected from liability for harmful material and copyright infringement under EU law, are acting as a “safe haven” for illegal streams and “undermining investment in creativity”.

He said: “We are faced with one set of rules governing the exploitation of intellectual property by broadcasters, publishers and even state institutions while at the same time global internet companies have to take no responsibility for what is uploaded to their platforms and often only cursory responsibility for removing illegal content when informed of it.”