Governments, regulators and tech companies are currently grappling with the challenge of how to promote an open and vibrant internet at the same time as tackling harmful activity online, including the spread of hateful content, terrorist propaganda, and the conduct of cyberbullying, child sexual exploitation and abuse.
The UK government’s Online Harms proposals include the establishment of a new ‘duty of care’ on companies to ensure they have robust systems in place to keep their users safe. Compliance with this new duty will be overseen by an independent regulator.
On 15 December 2020, DCMS and the Home Office published the full UK government response, setting out the intended policy positions for the regulatory framework, and confirming Ofcom as the regulator.
With the legislation likely to be introduced early this year, the panel will discuss questions including:
How to strike the balance between freedom of expression and protecting adults from harmful material?
How to ensure the legislation’s approach to harm is sufficiently future-proofed so new trends and harms are covered as they emerge?
What additional responsibilities will tech companies have under the new regulation?
Will the regulator have sufficient powers to tackle the wide range of harms in question?
This event is invite-only for participants, but you can watch the livestream of the discussion on this page at 15.00 GMT on Wednesday 10 February.
John Whittingdale MP, Minister of State for Media and Data, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, UK
Kevin Bakhurst, Director, Broadcasting and Online Content Group, Ofcom
Edward Bowles, Director of Public Policy for Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, Facebook
Lorna Woods, Professor of Internet Law, Essex University
Chair: Renata Dwan, Deputy Director, Chatham House