Proposals set out by White Paper are ambitious, and changes in technology could affect the ability of ISPs to effectively block content

“Today’s Online Harms White Paper makes it clear that the onus is on social media sites and other parts of the internet value chain to step up to the plate and to take more responsibility for the content on their platforms.

ISPA has always maintained that the White Paper should create a framework for regulation that takes an evidence-based, holistic and proportionate approach to policy-making, instead of kneejerk responses to individual harms.

The proposals outlined in the White Paper appear to share this view, but they are also ambitious and far-reaching. We will be working with our members through the consultation process to help answer some of the key questions that inevitably arise from such a broad consultation. These include the nature of the regulator and role of Government, companies in scope and enforcement.

The White Paper lists ISP blocking of non-compliant sites as a potential enforcement mechanism of last resort. However, as technology evolves, including through new technical protocols such as DNS-over-HTTPS, the ability of ISPs to put in place technical measures could be substantially reduced. The legal basis of any blocking action taken will also need to be clear.”