- What is The Online Safety Bill?
- How it could safeguard the children?
- What are its problems?
The online Safety Bill introduces new rules for firms which host user-generated content, i.e. those which permit online users to post their own content or interact with each other, and for search engines, which will have suitable duties focussed on minimising the presentation of harmful search results to users.
Based on official Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport official website:
“The Online Safety Bill delivers the government’s manifesto commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online while defending free expression. The Bill has been strengthened and clarified since it was published in draft in May 2021, and reflects the outcome of extensive Parliamentary scrutiny”
these new laws will mean especially for children that all in social media’s companies must assess risks and take action to confront illegal activity that threatens the safety and security of children. This includes greater responsibility and accountability on tech companies to protect young people, including requiring them to publish a summary of their risk assessments concerning the hazards their platform poses to children, alongside moves to increase transparency and accountability through new actions for the regulator Ofcom. the Bill will also include new measures to make especific changes to the UK’s criminal law to increase protections for vulnerable people online by considering the encouragement of self-harm and the sharing of people’s intimate images without their consent as criminal action the.
In addition, platforms and websites likely to be accessed by children will need to:
- prevent access to material that is harmful for children,( such as pornography).
- Make sure there are strong protections from activity which is harmful to children( such as bullying).
If a child does encounter unappropriated content or activity, parents and children will be able to report it easily. Platforms will be required to take suitable action in response.
The results of the current bill Included priority offences on the face of the primary legislation. This means Ofcom can take quicker actions against tech companies which fail to remove the named illegal content,
The laws will apply to firms whose services host user-generated content or social medias such as images, videos and comments, or which allow UK users to talk with other people online through messaging, comments and forums. This includes:
- popular social media platforms
- websites such as forums and messaging apps, even some online games, cloud storage and the most popular pornography sites
- search engines, which play a significant role in providing harmful content for users
this Regulations will make sure this elements:
- safeguard pluralism and ensure internet users can continue to engage in constructive online atmosphere
- make sure that platforms don’t discriminate against particular political viewpoints
- consider how to confront wider harms to democracy caused by false infodemic.
The bill also assigned rules for
- safeguards for journalism
- protect your freedom of speech
- tackle misinformation and disinformation
- online pornography
- online racist abuse and anonymity
- protect women
This bill originally proposed by Theresa May in the online harms white paper, the bill has lasted four prime ministers and seven departmental secretaries to reach this condition. In the process, it has modified substantially, from its original intention on harms including online abuse and harassment, through a switch to child safeguarding, including concerns around suicide and self-harm in the wake of the death of teenager Molly Russell.
The sad story goes back to the The coroner’s report into the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell in November 2017 concluded that her using of social media content had contributed in “more than a minimal way” to her death. The senior coroner, Andrew Walker, said the material Russell had viewed “shouldn’t have been available for a child to see”. In response, her father Ian Russell suggested that social media firms should “think long and hard about whether their platforms are suitable for young people at all”.
The U.K. government has finished an huge revision to debatable but populist online safety bill that’s been in the process for years — and was finally introduced to parliament earlier this year — but has been halted since this summer following problams in the governing Conservative Party.
In September, Michelle Donelan, new secretary of state for digital, said the new government, under newly elected prime minister Liz Truss (who has since been replaced by another new PM, Rishi Sunak) would make certain revisions to the bill before sending it back to parliament.
Donelan also tweeted as below:
“I promised I would make some common-sense tweaks and I have. This is a stronger, better bill for it. It is focused where it needs to be: on protecting children and on stamping out illegality online. Now it is time to pass it.”
Donelan aggressivly defend the changes on BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning, claiming the government has strengthened provisions to shield children, simultaneously has concerned about over the bill’s impact on freedom of expression for adults. “Nothing is getting watered down or taken out when it comes to children,We’re adding extra in. So there is no change to children” said Donelan.
the government publicly releases latest findings from Ipsos demonstrating UK adults think social media platforms should be doing more to protect children online. New research published by Ipsos for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) reveals that :
- Ipsos study finds over four in five (84%) adults are concerned about harmful content online
● Seven in ten (68%) think social media companies should do more to protect people online
● Two in five (45%) of those who want social media companies to do more say they will leave or reduce the amount of time they spend on social media platform if they see no action to resolve issues
Since the online safety bill was first proposed, people from different political spectrum have repeatedly argued that the legislation’s current provisions would harm the benefits of encryption in private communications, decrease internet safety for UK citizens and businesses, and will affect freedom of speech.
In an open letter signed by 70 organizations, cybersecurity experts, and elected officials after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced he was bringing the bill back to Parliament, signatories argued that “Encryption is critical to ensuring internet users are protected online, to building economic security through a pro-business UK economy that can weather the cost-of-living crisis, and to assuring national security.”
This is wile according to the ONS, 11% of children in England and Wales aged 13-15 report having received a sexual content (69% in the form of a photo or image) in the last 12 months. Girls aged 13-15 are specially more likely to have received sexual contents than boys (16% vs 6%).