Today, we are setting out the global standard for safety online with the most comprehensive approach yet to online regulation – ensuring the internet is a safer place for children and vulnerable users.
Our 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. We are 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. This 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.