Today the UK Government set out their plans to make the internet a safer place for children and vulnerable users.
- The Online Harms Bill – to be introduced next year – ensures that we enter a new age of accountability for tech, protecting children and vulnerable users, restoring trust in this industry, and enshrining in law safeguards for free speech.
- The Government is setting out that social media sites, websites, apps and other services will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material and suicide content. Tech platforms will need to do far more to protect children from being exposed to harmful content or activity such as grooming, bullying and pornography.
- Ofcom is now confirmed as the regulator with the power to fine companies failing in their duty of care up to £18 million or ten per cent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. The legislation also includes provisions to impose criminal sanctions on senior managers, meaning that tech companies must put public safety first or face the consequences.
Local MP, Sarah Atherton, has welcomed the Government's plans to make the internet a safer space for children.
Commenting, Sarah said: "I stood on a promise to crack down on crime, that means making the internet a safe space for our children and vulnerable users, whilst also tackling crime on our streets.
"The pandemic has highlighted the important role that the internet plays in all of our lives, that is why it is especially important that we protect people from harm online without undermining freedom of expression or the incredible benefits of the internet."
This proportionate new framework will ensure we don’t put unnecessary burdens on small businesses but give large digital businesses robust rules of the road to follow so we can seize the brilliance of modern technology to improve our lives.
Not only will it ensure that children are kept safe, but it will set a gold standard for safety online with the most comprehensive approach yet to online regulation.
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