Deloitte Internet Regulation Updater
On 13 December 2022 the UK Online Safety Bill returned to Committee stage to discuss further amendments following an earlier debate in the House of Commons on 5 December.
Key amendments discussed and points of debate at the Committee stage include:
- The Government’s removal of the controversial ‘legal but harmful’ content provisions and related adult safety duties including carrying out risk assessments in respect of such content. After detailed debate, the Committee was clearly divided but appeared eventually to agree to remove these provisions.
- In lieu of these provisions, what the Government referred to as the ‘fairer, simpler approach: the triple shield’, which focuses on duties around illegal content, content which violates a provider’s terms and conditions, and duties around user empowerment for users to be able to control the type of content to which they are exposed (in light of the agreed removal of ‘legal but harmful’ provisions, subsequent amendments to user empowerment duties were also agreed including removing reference to the duties applying to control over harmful content generally, and instead prescribing specific types of content, including promotion or encouragement of suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders, and abuse based on protected characteristics including race, religion, and sex).
- Enhancing the safety duties protecting children by requiring that providers may use age assurance measures to not only fulfil their duties to protect children from harmful content and activities, but to also fulfil their general duties about mitigating and managing risk and impact of harm to children arising from the design and operation of their service.
The Committee will continue the debate on 15 December 2022 after which we expect a further draft of the Bill to be published. However, after the Committee, the Bill needs to go through the House of Lords. Timing remains tight, despite the Culture Secretary’s recent reassurance that the Government aims to ensure that the OSB is finalised by the end of this parliamentary session (in the Spring 2023, normally around end April). We will continue to monitor further developments.
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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