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UK government Online Harms proposals tackles online safety for children

News   •   Feb 12, 2020 11:06 GMT

The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced new plans to keep children safe online today. It has also published results from a consultation on last year’s Online Harms whitepaper, which set out proposals to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

The new proposals include a statutory duty of care for online platforms to protect children from online harms such as abuse and self-harm. These will be enforced by regulator OFCOM, and supported by the introduction of senior management liability for organisations that breach this duty of care.

Commenting on the news, Ollie Whitehouse, global CTO at NCC Group said: “These measures, and the expansion of OFCOM's remit as a regulator to enforce them, are an excellent first step towards the government’s vision to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

“However, it’s important that children fully understand online safety from a young age, not just in relation to avoiding harmful images and content. It’s vital that young people are continually educated on the importance of managing their digital footprint and the importance of online privacy to ensure they have a safe online browsing experience. From our perspective, we’re also keen to see further measures to bolster the UK’s cyber security expertise by encouraging young people to pursue careers in the industry, as cyber security is naturally linked to better internet safety overall.

“We’d also encourage the regulator to regularly engage with the industry to stay on top of technological developments. By opening a dialogue with peers and stakeholders, OFCOM can ensure that businesses understand that the duty of care is not simply another regulatory hurdle, but something to help us all make society as safe and secure as possible.”