The Joint Committee on the draft Online Safety Bill, chaired by Damian Collins MP, recommends major changes to the Online Safety Bill, which is due to be put to Parliament for approval in 2022.
This new law will finally make internet service providers responsible for what’s happening on their platforms, including for serious crimes like child abuse, fraud, racist abuse, promoting self harm and also against violence against women, for which previously there was little enforceable sanction.
Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on the draft Online Safety Bill, said: “The Committee were unanimous in their conclusion that we need to call time on the Wild West online. What’s illegal offline should be regulated online. For too long, big tech has gotten away with being the land of the lawless. A lack of regulation online has left too many people vulnerable to abuse, fraud, violence and in some cases even loss of life.
“The Committee has set out recommendations to bring more offences clearly within the scope of the Online Safety Bill, give Ofcom the power in law to set minimum safety standards for the services they will regulate, and to take enforcement action against companies if they don’t comply.
“The era of self-regulation for big tech has come to an end. The companies are clearly responsible for services they have designed and profit from, and need to be held to account for the decisions they make.”
Myron Jobson, Personal Finance Campaigner, interactive investor, says: “The Online Safety Bill in itself won’t plug the flood of financial scams that have mushroomed during the pandemic or offer complete protection against harmful content that can not only result in emotional and psychological harm, but financial peril as well. The onus still falls on individuals to avoid financial harm – there is no getting around it.
“Online searches are a great way of getting financial guidance and ideas, but it can be a minefield. The internet is a rich trolling ground for unscrupulous individuals to convince unsuspecting victims to part with their hard-earned money. Fraudsters are only too willing to exploit any ignorance or naivety.
“Social media is a blessing and a curse. It provides a platform to share opinions and there is some good material out there to help people on their investment journey. The advent of broader online ‘influencers’ has seen rise of so-called ‘financial influencers’ – some of whom haven’t got a clue on what they are talking about to put it bluntly. It’s important to check the credentials and quality of your sources.
“The FOMO culture that shrouds social platforms like TikTok, Reddit and Instagram has become a breeding ground for the marketing of high-risk investments shunned by the mainstream investment industry – often for good reason.