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Digital Business Lawyer

UK Government announces new laws to improve internet safety

On 20 May 2018, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (‘DCMS’), published the UK Government’s response to its Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper (‘Response’). In the Response, DCMS outlines a series of proposals, including actions that social media platforms must take to help improve internet safety. It also outlines plans to introduce new laws to deal with online safety concerns. The Government had previously emphasised in its Green Paper a collaborative, self-regulatory approach, with a suggestion of legislation only if a voluntary approach didn’t work. However, the Government has now decided that more legislative powers are needed. Indeed, when discussing the Response, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock indicated that a lack of voluntary engagement from some social media platforms on this topic was a driver in the Government’s decision making. He mentioned that the fact that only a handful of the largest social media operators had accepted an invite to discuss the issue of internet safety was “a big impetus to drive this proposal to legislate.” Sue McLean and Nicole Fitzgerald of Baker & McKenzie LLP, discuss the contents of the Government’s Response and what the new legislative approach will mean for social media platforms.

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