Michael Drury and Julian Hayes analyse overzealous Online Harms bill

Michael Drury and Julian Hayes analyse overzealous Online Harms bill

BCL partners Michael Drury and Julian Hayes write for Euronews analysing the potential impact of the Online Harms White Paper published in April 2019, that will be responded to by the government later this month.

Here’s an extract from the article:

Attempts to rein in the internet will take a step closer later this month when the UK government gives its official response to its Online Harms White Paper published in April 2019. The government’s move – one of the first by the new Conservative administration – comes after it received over 2,000 responses from, amongst others, the voluntary sector, think tanks, and leading technology companies under the umbrella of the Internet Association. Since then, some of the more draconian proposals appear to have been tempered and there are tentative indications that the government may have accepted freedom of speech concerns. However, there is so far little sign that the response will address some of the more fundamental issues with the proposals identified by commentators.

Aspiring to make the UK the world’s safest place to be online, the proposals are aimed at a multitude of social ills; from widely understood scourges, such as terrorist content and child sexual exploitation material, to less clearly defined phenomena, such as cyber-bullying, trolling and intimidation. The government is committed to tackling such problems by imposing a duty of care on organisations facilitating the sharing of user-generated content online, encompassing tech giants, social media companies, public discussion forums and even retailers inviting online product reviews.


This article was originally published by Euronews on 24/01/2020. 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.