GPD has responded to the Office of Communications (Ofcom)’s call for evidence: first phase of online safety regulation.
Our submission reflects our continued engagement on the UK’s Online Safety Bill, which aims to tackle illegal and harmful forms of online content through a new regulatory framework, which—if it becomes law—would be overseen and enforced by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator. Ofcom recently released a roadmap laying out their plans for implementing their responsibilities under the new regulation, and this consultation invites feedback on how platforms can protect users from illegal content, protect children from online harms and meet the transparency requirements included in the proposed regulation.
While we remain concerned over the degree of control over Ofcom that the UK government will have if the Bill is passed (see our previous analysis here), we commend Ofcom for recognising that the complexity of this proposed regulatory regime will benefit from close engagement with stakeholders, particularly digital rights organisations. We therefore welcome the opportunity to provide comments to Ofcom in order to strengthen its understanding of the range of approaches and techniques platforms can employ to help them meet their proposed duties under the Online Safety Bill, including their impacts and risks to human rights. If the Online Safety Bill is eventually passed, we hope our responses assist Ofcom to carry out its functions in a rights-respecting manner.