Deloitte Internet Regulation Updater
As the UK’s Online Safety Bill (OSB) makes its way through Parliament, UK regulators for data protection and online safety in the UK, respectively, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Office of Communications (Ofcom), have published a joint statement setting out their ambitions to protect people online.
The statement identifies a tension between safety and privacy, but the ICO and Ofcom want to see organisations designing their services with both safety and privacy in mind. They state that after the OSB passes, relevant services will need to comply with both online safety and data protection rules, but they are clear that ‘there can be no space for services to argue that they could not comply with new online safety requirements, because of data protection rules, or vice versa’.
The ICO and Ofcom therefore intend to work together and align their approaches. In doing so, they believe that they ‘can safeguard people more effectively while also minimising the cost of compliance’. The regulators suggest that they will achieve this through various actions including Ofcom preparing codes of practice and guidance for online services on compliance with the online safety regime, and the ICO preparing guidance on data protection expectations for online services deploying safety technologies (e.g. age assurance, content moderation), and consulting each other in the preparation of these.
The ICO and Ofcom have also said that they will reaffirm their cooperation through a renewed memorandum of understanding, which they will update in light of Ofcom’s new responsibilities under the OSB. As the OSB continues to undergo changes as it makes its way through Parliament, we will be monitoring closely the impact on Ofcom’s responsibilities and its intended joint approach with the ICO.
If you would like to speak to the Deloitte team supporting clients on complying with the OSB and other evolving global internet regulations, please contact:
Joey Conway, Internet Regulation Partner, Legal Lead
Nick Seeber, Internet Regulation Lead Partner
Jessica Withey, Internet Regulation Director, Legal
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