UK Government Introduces Online Safety Bill

On March 17, the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport published its long-awaited Online Safety Bill, aimed at holding online platforms more responsible for the content they host. The bill, originally published in draft form last year, tackles a variety of online harms, including cyber-bullying and material promoting self-harm, and requires online platforms to address both illegal and “legal but harmful” content. The platforms are also required to protect journalism and democratic political debate, and news content is exempted from the bill’s scope. The UK’s Office of Communications can fine any company up to ten percent of its annual turnover for failures to comply with the law, in addition to which executives failing to cooperate with Ofcom’s information requests can face prosecution and jail time within two months of the bill’s effective date. The Parliament is expected to start considering the bill later this year. Read more about the bill here.

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