Culture, Media and Sport Committee publishes report into Online Safety
The Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee published its sixth report into Online Child Safety this week. The report follows a call for evidence and oral evidence sessions conducted last autumn. ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman gave oral and written evidence to the Committee and a number of our points were reflected in the report.
Overall the report concludes that more could be done by industry, Government, law enforcement and others to bring about a safer online experience. The Committee acknowledges that it is a complex area, with no one simple solution, and so caveats a number of recommendations. The headline from the Committee is that regulation is not the solution, rather:
- Existing laws should be enforced more robustly
- Legal adult sites should do more to restrict access
- Parents should be given more support, including all ISPs offering a whole home filtering solution
The report is structured into three areas of concern: Illegal content, harmful adult content being made available to children and harmful behaviour on social media. A detailed summary was emailed to the relevant ISPA sub-groups, and further information on the report is available on the ISPA website here.
Government will have to respond to the Committee in due course.
Preventing online child abuse
Lord Taylor, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office, outlined what systems are in place to prevent online child abuse. He stated that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command of the National Crime Agency (NCA) is the UK's national law enforcement agency committed to tackling the sexual abuse of children in both the online and offline environments - with the principal aim of identifying, locating and safeguarding children and young people from harm. Lord Taylor highlighted that:
- Every officer in the NCA has a legal duty to safeguard children and promote child welfare, and the NCA has extensive domestic and global reach
- Government’s work with industry was helping prevent abuse and the creation of a new UK/US taskforce would further help in countering online child sexual exploitation
- Government engagement with internet companies had produced significant changes to search engine mechanisms that have made it harder to access to child abuse images online
- The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) was further helping to prevent online child abuse, explaining that the group is formed of representatives from Government, law enforcement, the charity sector, academia and the online industry