UK government plans Internet regulator

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The UK government is reportedly planning to establish a new Internet regulator that would make tech giants liable for content published on their platforms and even have the power to sanction companies that fail to take down illegal material and hate speech.

Legislation is apparently being drafted by the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that would create a new regulatory framework of online “social harms”.

The details of the proposals would see the establishment of an internet regulator similar to Ofcom which regulates telecoms, broadcasters and postal communications.

Home secretary Sajid Javid and culture secretary Jeremy Wright are considering introducing a mandatory code of practice for social media platforms that would impose a number of new rules such as “takedown times” that would force websites to remove hate speech before a set timeframe or face penalties. Ministers are also exploring the idea of implementing age verification for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users.

As of now the new proposals are in the development stage and will be put out for consultation later this year.

The Internet regulator would be able to impose punitive sanctions on social media platforms that fail to remove terrorist content, child abuse images or hate speech. According to BuzzFeed News, the ministers are also considering creating a second new regulator just for online advertising that would crackdown on adverts for unhealthy food and soft drink products.

We will likely hear more on the matter, when the new proposals are put out for consultation though the idea of an Internet regulator does make some sense given how much of our daily lives are now conducted online.

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