Digital rights campaigners are warning that a “broken news feed” that is not being updated could end up costing the public billions of pounds.
The Digital Rights Alliance (DRAA) and digital rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have called on the UK Government to remove the old, non-updating version of the “news” feed that was replaced in 2015, which had not been updated since February 2020.
In a letter to the Home Office, the two groups said: “It is clear that the system is not fit for purpose, is outdated, is not working as expected and is likely to result in a large cost to the public purse.”
The DRAA said it is working to fix the old feed, which was first introduced in 2015 and updated in 2016, but warned that it could take some time.
The group said the UK’s national broadcaster (BBC) and media regulator, Ofcom, need to “take urgent action to stop the UK being dragged into the EU renegotiation”.
“This is not a case of a broken feed, but of a system that is no longer fit for the task it was set out to tackle,” it said.
“If this system is allowed to continue, it will be a disaster for the British public, and the UK economy.”‘
The government needs to fix this’The letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd comes as the Conservative Party is struggling to find its footing after the resignation of its chairman, Dominic Raab, and a series of resignations from MPs and peers, including the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee.
The party has struggled to find a clear leadership, with many of its MPs defecting from the party, leading to speculation about whether they will be re-elected in the next election.
On Wednesday, former party chairman Patrick McLoughlin resigned from his position after the Conservative party was unable to find an “unifying” message for the party after the shock resignation of his boss, Lord Ashcroft.
In the letter, the DRAA and RSF argued that the old newsfeed “can no longer be trusted”.
“The government should not be caught in the middle of a process that it does not have a mandate for and that could potentially damage the economy and damage the public’s trust in the news,” the letter said.
They said the system needs to be replaced because it has “no clear mandate” and “has a track record of not working”.
“If we are to ensure that the new system can work, the government needs the confidence of the public to ensure it is the best choice for the future of our democracy,” the DRAAA said.
It also called for the Government to update the old “newsfeed” with new “information” in a way that “reaches people directly and not through outdated information that is designed to reach a small audience”.
The DRAAA is the UKs largest digital rights organisation.RSF is the leading digital rights body in the world.
The organisation campaigns against the erosion of rights and freedoms online and supports independent journalism.