5Rights Foundation new report ‘Ambitions for the Online Safety Bill’ outlines the steps the government must take to build the digital world that children and young people deserve.
The arrival of the Online Safety Bill is very welcome, and so too is the government’s determination to protect children. But the scope, definition of harm and enforcement regime all require further consideration and clarification.
The report, available here, addresses the need for a truly systemic, precautionary and risk-based approach to online harms.
- The Bill’s must account for harms that build over time and those that impact groups of children, not just the most serious cases of harm to individuals.
- The Bill leaves significant risks and harms to young people unaddressed, such as financial and consumer harms.
- The Bill’s duty of care must force companies to take preventative measures that identify and mitigate risks before harm occurs, rather than allowing them to rely on moderation, reporting mechanisms and transparency.
- The Bill must cover the role of automated systems, not just focus on harmful content. Automated systems and algorithms must be firmly in scope of the Bill and the new regulator must have strong oversight and enforcement powers to regulate and audit them.
- The new regulator must be tough and have the independence, capacity, and resources it needs to hold tech firms to account. The government’s proposed Codes of Practice will be worthless if they aren’t mandated and enforced.
The full report is available to download here.