The Government has outlined the next steps it will take to ‘make the UK the safest place to be online’.
As part of the Digital Charter, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to review laws and make sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online. The Digital Charter is a rolling programme of work which aims to make the UK both the safest place to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business.
The Law Commission, an independent body which recommends reforms to the law, will launch a review of current legislation on offensive online communications to ensure that laws adequately protect individuals. The review is expected to be published in October 2018.
As set out in the Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper, published 11 October 2017, the Government intends to crack down on abusive and threatening behaviour online. The Law Commission will help to determine whether current laws are effective enough in ensuring parity between the treatment of offensive behaviour that happens offline and online.
The update did not include reference to the video games industry, but TIGA will continue to monitor progress and represent the industry’s best interests.
The Prime Minister has also announced:
- That the Government will introduce a comprehensive new social media code of practice this year, setting out clearly the minimum expectations on social media companies.
- The introduction of an annual internet safety transparency report – providing UK data on offensive online content and what action is being taken to remove it.
Other announcements made today by Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Matt Hancock include:
- A new online safety guide for those working with children, including school leaders and teachers, to prepare young people for digital life.
- A commitment from major online platforms including Google, Facebook and Twitter to put in place specific support during election campaigns to ensure abusive content can be dealt with quickly – and that they will provide advice and guidance to Parliamentary candidates on how to remain safe and secure online.