The Queen’s Speech 2019 set out the Government’s commitment to introducing the recommendations contained in the 2019 Online Harms White Paper. This paper recommended that a regulator be established to keep people safe from harmful and abusive content online, partly by enforcing a new ‘duty of care’ that companies in the online space will owe towards their users.
Notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech state that draft legislation will now be published. It will be interesting to see both who the regulator will be (it has been suggested that OFCOM may adopt the position), and how the legislation will deal with the extraterritorial nature of internet services.
The notes also state that 70% of adults support increased regulation of social media, and are particularly concerned about the risk of harm posed to children from abusive behaviour and inappropriate content. As the Government has recently dropped a high profile attempt to enforce ID checks for adult content on the internet as unfeasible, we await to see what alternative measures will be proposed in the legislation in this regard.