‘Milestone’ legislation is is set to make the virtual world safer
Six years in the making, and dogged by controversy, the UK’s Online Safety Bill is finally set to become law after getting the nod from the House of Lords.
The government hailed the measure a “major milestone” and said it will deliver “the most powerful child protection laws in a generation”.
It holds online platforms responsible for the content they host, meaning they could be fined billions of pounds if they fail to remove illegal or harmful material, including bullying, images of child abuse and posts promoting self-harm and suicide.
The law also outlaws new offences including cyber-flashing and the sharing of so-called ‘deepfake’ pornography.
Critics say it amounts to censorship and will give platforms and regulator Ofcom too much power to decide what appears online.
However David Wright, CEO of the South West Grid for Learning, part of the Safer Internet Centre, called the legislation a “momentous milestone”.
“Everyone should benefit from technology, free from harm and with this new piece of legislation, we are potentially closer to achieving that goal, he said.
Image: August de Richelieu