The Online Harms White Paper set out the intention to improve protections for users online through the introduction of a new duty of care on companies and an independent regulator responsible for overseeing this framework. The White Paper proposed that this regulation follow a proportionate and risk-based approach, and that the duty of care be designed to ensure that all companies have appropriate systems and processes in place to react to concerns over harmful content and improve the safety of their users - from effective complaint mechanisms to transparent decision-making over actions taken in response to reports of harm.
Please see below ISPA response.
Andrew Glover, the Chair of ISPA, commented:
“The White Paper outlines important steps towards maintaining and improving trust in online services and the wider digital economy. ISPA’s consumer facing members have been instrumental in making the UK one of the safest places in the world to be online by providing customers with safety and security tools, so ISPA is broadly supportive of the white paper's agenda.
“However, in order to effectively address online harms, it is important for interventions to be targeted at the specific part of the internet ecosystem, so we welcome the proposed approach of focusing measures on platforms that facilitate user generated content.
“There are a number of important questions that remain unanswered – especially in a post-Brexit environment – such as how Ofcom will use its new powers, how a regulator would deal with companies not based in the UK and ISP blocking - including how the UK reacts to technical developments such as DNS-over-HTTPS. ISPA will be working with its members on these and other points as we enter the next phase of consultation.”