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New Online Safety Act to become law in the UK

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Sunil Ambalavelil

Published on October 31, 2023, 09:02:28

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social media, cyberthreats, cyberbullying, technology and media

The UK's Online Safety Act has received Royal Assent, this groundbreaking law imposes unprecedented legal obligations on social media. It marks the start of a new chapter in internet user choice and safety.

These new laws give adults more control over what their children are exposed to online, but they also take a zero-tolerance approach to protect kids from danger caused by the internet. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords have thoroughly examined and discussed the Act.

Tech companies are required to prohibit and delete criminal content, including items linked to terrorism and revenge pornography, as soon as possible under this law. They must also protect kids from inappropriate information, including explicit adult content, self-harm and eating disorder promotion, and cyberbullying.

If the companies fail to comply, they may face heavy fines. Moreover, if they fail to implement measures directed by Ofcom to safeguard children, their top executives could even be imprisoned. The maximum penalty is £18 million, or 10% of the platform's global annual sales, whichever is higher. 

Moreover, this law will actively address violence against women and girls. These law modifications make it easier to punish those who distribute private photos online without permission. Additionally, the Act contains new laws that prohibit the non-consensual sharing of intimate deep fakes

Some social media platforms have already made changes in advance of the Bill going into effect. Amid the legal battle against Meta, this revolutionary decision by the UK government is greatly welcomed by the public. 

The government and Ofcom have worked closely together during the Bill's approval through Parliament to make sure that safeguards can be quickly implemented if the Act is ratified.

The administration has chosen to implement several important aspects of the Act ahead of schedule, even though most of its provisions are scheduled to go into force in two months.

This includes the appointment of Ofcom as the online safety regulator, effective immediately, which enables them to start crucial preparatory work, such as quick consultations, to put safeguards in place. With Royal Assent for the Online Safety Act, the UK strives to become one of the safest countries across the globe. 

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