AIC Refutes Minister Alles’ Claims on Online Safety Bill Amendments

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) has contested statements made by Public Security Minister Tiran Alles in Parliament, concerning discussions on the Online Safety Bill. The AIC, which includes major tech companies like Meta, Google, Apple, and Amazon, clarified that it was not informed about recent changes to the Bill despite the Minister’s claims.

In a parliamentary debate, Minister Alles claimed that technology industry representatives, specifically referring to the AIC, had endorsed the proposed amendments to the Online Safety Bill. He detailed that his team engaged in thorough discussions with the AIC in Singapore, analyzing the Bill closely and incorporating their feedback. This was in response to a query from MP Harini Amarasuriya about the AIC’s approval of the Bill’s amendments.

However, Jeff Paine, the Managing Director of the AIC, issued a statement contradicting the Minister’s account, emphasizing that the AIC’s extensive contributions to the legislative process were not accurately represented in his statements.

The AIC highlighted its efforts to collaborate, including making detailed submissions and hosting ministry representatives at its Online Safety Forum in Singapore. Despite these efforts, the AIC underscored that it remains unaware of the specific amendments proposed to the Bill, maintaining that the current version of the Bill is impractical and needs significant revisions to meet international standards. The coalition stressed that without these changes, the Bill could negatively impact Sri Lanka’s digital economy’s growth and attract foreign investment.