Online Safety Bill
Online Safety Bill
What is it?
The Online Safety Bill, first introduced as a white paper bill- in April 2019, was designed to establish and improve provisions for the protection of online users. The Government released a complete response in December 2020, with the scope intended to the whole of the UK.
What does it affect, and how?
The bill is designed to apply to providers of regulated services, either user-to-user or search services. However, several exemptions exist, such as an otherwise regulated platform or the service deemed to be of low risk of harm to its users.
‘Online services which allow users to upload, populate, or share user-generated content, or, to interact online otherwise. Examples include social media platforms, online marketplaces, and forums, etc.’
‘Online services which allow users to search some or all parts of the internet.’
Coming into force
The Online Safety Bill will be subjected to pre-legislative screening from a committee of MP’s, with a final draft to be formally introduced to UK Parliament sometime later this year. The bill expressly lays out the duty of care, including responsibilities with which regulated service providers must comply.
The responsibilities this bill will impose on service providers to users of online services will be paramount in ensuring a step towards more suitable protection to young and vulnerable users, particularly regarding user-to-user services.
There has been an unwavering increase and awareness of cyberbullying, hacking, and malware within services left open with little to no regulation.
Cases such as the Cambridge Analytica, which hit the news predominantly in 2019, showcase the need for greater transparency within online activity and safety. The Online Safety Bill will make provisions for the requirements of risk assessments to identify, if and what, risks of harm such users of regulated services face.
Check out the Government’s explanatory notes on the bill for more information.