Internet: Safety

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect people with epilepsy from being targeted by social media posts designed to trigger a seizure with flashing images; and if he will bring forward amendments to the Online Harms Bill to criminalise that matter.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

The government intends to introduce world-leading Online Harms legislation to make the UK the safest place to be online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users which will be overseen by an independent regulator. The Government published its Initial Consultation Response to the Online Harms White Paper in February 2020, and this set out our direction of travel on a number of key areas. We are aiming to publish a full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, and this will include more detailed proposals on online harms regulation.

In addition to this new legislation, it is important to make sure that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. DCMS and the Ministry of Justice have engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications. The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make specific recommendations about options for reform, to ensure that criminal law provides consistent and effective protection against such behaviour.

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