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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 Julian Knight Julian Knight Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee 10:32 am, 13th February 2020

I thank the Minister for his initial response. A regulator is nothing without the ability genuinely to disrupt the business practices of a firm that it is regulating. What assurances can he give the House that the proposed Ofcom plus regulator can genuinely bring social media companies to account with simply a bit of public shaming and fines? Does he agree that there needs to be a tech levy set at 2% of UK revenues in order properly to fund this super-regulator?

Will the Minister confirm that there will be a legal duty on companies to inform users of their personal privacy rights? Would not the new regulatory framework benefit from pre-legislative scrutiny by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, as well as from allowing the Committee a veto over the appointment or dismissal of the head of the regulator, in exactly the same way that the Treasury Committee has over the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility? Will the Minister assure the House that legislation will be forthcoming this calendar year, as we have been waiting a very long time for this?