BCL partner, Julian Hayes writes for City AM explaining why the online safety bill still remains a problematic piece of legislation despite its recent revisions.
*Here is a short extract from the article. If you wish to read the full article, please visit City AM website.
The online safety bill has been revisited, again. Despite the new amendments, it’s still a problematic piece of legislation, writes Julian Hayes
In the festival of British politics, the online safety bill is a headline act (again). The controversy it has generated has spanned four prime ministers and countless changes in the tech world. This week, a rebel alliance of backbenchers wrung a last-minute concession from the government, meaning social media bosses will be individually liable if platforms repeatedly fall short of their child safety duties. Superficially simple, the idea is unlikely to be a panacea.
Calls for punitive measures against the poster boys of Big Tech are not new. In 2019, the online harms white paper canvassed senior management liability for breaching a duty of care to keep service users safe online. But the bill omitted criminal enforcement powers against individuals except in limited circumstances. Child safety campaigners criticised the omission, arguing the threat of jail time, not financial penalties, would bring social media companies to heel.
*This article was first published by City AM on 19 January 2023. If you wish to read the full article, please visit City AM website.