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Online Harms Legislation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:32 am on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 10:32 am, 13th February 2020

It is important that we respond to the new cross-border challenges that have arisen as a result of our society moving increasingly online. I am sure that the Minister will be aware of the Scottish Government’s internet safety plan for children, and I hope that he will co-operate with the devolved Administrations on this issue.

The consultation on this area closed last summer, and it has to be said that a delay of concrete proposals until spring does not suggest an atmosphere of urgency. Will the Minister commit to no further delays in Government action past the spring deadline and ensure that the tech companies do not dictate the pace of reform? Moreover, will he confirm whether the Government will be giving Ofcom powers to make directors of social media companies personally liable—including facing prosecution for harmful content—and that these proposals have not been removed from the Government’s plans in the face of lobbying by tech execs? Does he agree that, although tightening regulations in this way is necessary, we also need regulations to close the loopholes that are seeing dark money being funnelled to political parties and campaigns in this country in a manner which, if it had happened in other states, would have the whole House of Commons united in condemnation?