UK Government Orders Review of Online Laws

The Law Commission (LC) in the UK, is to review current legislation of offensive online communications

The Law Commission (LC) in the UK, is to review current legislation of offensive online communications to ensure they are up-to-date with technology.  

The online law review by the LC, will determine whether laws are effective enough in ensuring parity between the treatment of offensive behaviour that happens online and offline and will include the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003.

The government has also announced it will introduce a new Social Media Code of Practice in 2018, to set out the minimum expectations on social media companies and the introduction of an annual internet safety transparency report, to provide UK data on offensive online content and what action is being taken to remove it.  

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced an online safety guide developed by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety for those working with children, including school leaders and teachers, to prepare young people for digital life.

He also announced a commitment from major online platforms including Google, Facebook and Twitter to put in place specific support during election campaigns, to ensure abusive content can be dealt with quickly and that they will provide advice and guidance to parliamentary candidates on how to remain safe and secure online.

Hancock said:  “We want to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, and having listened to the views of parents, communities and industry, we are delivering on the ambitions set out in our Internet Safety Strategy.

“Not only are we seeing if the law needs updating to better tackle online harms, we are moving forward with our plans for online platforms to have tailored protections in place – giving the UK public standards of internet safety unparalleled anywhere else in the world.”

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