The Government set out plans for tackling online harms and keeping children safe online, including from child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), in the Online Harms White Paper. The White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and hold companies to account for tackling a wide range of online harms.
This includes an overarching statutory duty of care on companies: this will place a legal responsibility on companies in scope to take reasonable steps to keep their users safe and tackle illegal and harmful activity on their services. This will be overseen and enforced by an independent regulator.
The regulator will issue codes of practice that set out what companies should do to fulfil their new duty of care. Reflecting the threat to national security or the physical safety of children, the regulator will require companies to take particularly robust action to tackle terrorist or CSEA content. The Government will publish interim codes of practice providing guidance about tackling terrorist activity and online CSEA later this year
In addition, the Home Secretary has been clear with industry that they should be proactive in combatting child sexual exploitation. The Home Secretary set out five key demands of industry at his speech at the NSPCC on 3 September, including stopping online grooming and live-streaming of abuse.
As part of this commitment to protect children from online harms, in November the Home Secretary co-hosted the Microsoft-led Hackathon in the US, where he met with leading industry stakeholders to identify robust ways to tackle and prevent child sexual abuse on the internet. A prototype tool was developed at the Hackathon that can be used to automatically flag potential conversations taking place between online groomers and children, which will be licensed free of charge to technology companies worldwide. In June the Home Secretary also announced an additional £300,000 to take forward new technological innovations to target livestreaming of child abuse.