UK announces plan to fine firms for harmful online content

LONDON (AP) — The British government says it will give regulators the power to fine social media companies for harmful material on their platforms.

Plans announced Wednesday would give the U.K.’s telecommunications watchdog, Ofcom, power to enforce a “duty of care” on companies such as Facebook and Twitter “to protect users from harmful and illegal terrorist and child abuse content.”

Firms that allow harmful material to flourish or don’t remove it quickly could be sanctioned. Ofcom currently keeps tabs on radio and television broadcasters, and has the power to levy fines or even kick repeat offenders off the air.

The government said it was “minded” to make the changes, but new legislation will be needed for it to take effect. It said officials were working “at pace” to draft a new law.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said the new rules would be “proportionate and strong.”

“We have an incredible opportunity to lead the world in building a thriving digital economy, driven by groundbreaking technology, that is trusted by and protects everyone in the U.K.,” she said.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said it welcomed “a duty of care model that puts the onus on big tech to prevent online harms.”

But free-speech advocates have expressed concerns about state attempts to limit activity that may be harmful but is not illegal.


Greenwood superintendent set to retire at end of school year

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A local school leader is retiring after more than 32 years in education.

Dr. Kent DeKoninck is often called “Dr. D.” He has been the superintendent of Greenwood schools.

He would have never wanted to do anything differently. Dr. D says the chance to make an impact on a young person’s life and those in the community is why he stayed for seven years.

Just to give you an idea of his character, Dr. D wouldn’t admit any of the accomplishments that happened because of him but because of the entire district.

Changes that occurred under Dr. Kenoninck’s leadership include an increase in student achievement, teacher pay, a new middle school and activity complex, and the chance to see the old middle school site to the city for new development.

Last week when Dr. D announced his retirement, he was praised by community members and students for his ability to put people first, his involvement in the community and how he led with integrity.

“What was really neat is that those things I’ve talked about for years, people recognized,” Dr. DeKoninck said. “Because you know in the end it’s not for me to determine what impact we have had here. It’s for others and when you hear that, it was really heartwarming for me to know that that’s what we try to preach here in Greenwood. We try to talk about that we’re about people and we have a culture and climate here that I”m really proud of and that’s our community that’s made that happen.”

Dr. D is choosing to leave for family reasons. His first grandchild is on the way and most of his family lives in Fort Wayne. He would like to continue his university work which includes helping train aspiring educational leaders.

Dr. D is with the school district through the end of 2020.