Era of self-regulation online is coming to an end – Michael Drury and Julian Hayes

Era of self-regulation online is coming to an end – Michael Drury and Julian Hayes

BCL partners Michael Drury and Julian Hayes write for The Times on potential regulations proposed by the government on platform providers to prevent online harms such as disinformation, and cyberstalking.

Here’s an extract from the article:

The Government’s crusade to make the UK the “safest place in the world to be online” gets underway  later this month when the Home Office issues its response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation which closed last year. After receiving over 2,000 submissions, including from big tech companies, think tanks and leading child protection charities, it is expected that the Government will temper some of the White Paper’s more draconian proposals. So far, though, there is little sign the Government will address some of the more fundamental concerns.

By imposing a rigorous duty of care on platform providers backed by swingeing powers to be wielded by Ofcom, the proposals take aim at a multitude of social ills, from widely understood scourges such as terrorist content to less clearly defined phenomena such as ‘trolling’. The proposals are part of a world-wide shift towards greater regulation of the online sphere driven by high profile tragedies such as the Christchurch mosque shootings, online threats to democracy, and perceived lack of accountability by dominant tech giants. Though controversial, the proposals are an assertion of governmental control of the online space, hitherto effectively ceded to arguably unwilling and ill-prepared platform providers.


This article was originally published by The Times on 16/01/20. You can read the full article on their website.

Michael Drury is a partner at BCL with a diverse practice, ranging from extradition to representing individuals in regulatory proceedings brought by the FCA; acting in criminal investigations by the SFO; and is a leading expert on surveillance and investigatory powers as well as information law and cybercrime.

Julian Hayes is a Partner specialising in all aspects of corporate crime and regulatory work. As well as dealing with high profile fraud and corruption matters, including investigations with an international dimension, he has considerable experience of advising corporates on data protection and cybercrime issues.