UKSIC emphasises need for positive change as date given for Online Safety Bill’s Parliament return

25 Nov 2022 UK SIC

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) has emphasised the need for positive change as it’s confirmed the Online Safety Bill will return to Parliament next month.

Speaking during Business Questions today (24 November), Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt MP, confirmed discussions over the Bill would return on Monday 5 December.

Responding, Shadow Commons Leader, Thangam Debbonaire MP, criticised the government’s “chaotic” handling of the Bill and their desire to “remove a crucial section that deals with legal but harmful content”.

A spokesperson for the UKSIC said: “The return of this key legislation to the forefront of politics is a real relief for all of us intent on keeping the internet a safe place. These continuous delays have been frustrating and unacceptable with children and victims being left out in the cold by the neglectful actions of government.

“However, despite those hurdles, the news of its return to Parliament is most welcome, and we will be on hand to assist in creating positive change in any way we can – particularly when it comes to stamping down on the amount of child sexual abuse material online. The expertise we have at our disposal on these lifechanging matters, through Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and SWGfl, ensures we are consistently ready, willing, and able to support in providing a safer internet, and by extension a safer world, for our children. 

“There are also clear gaps in the Bill – one being around impartial dispute resolution. As it stands the Bill is set to replace platform regulations, that will remove those obligations that organisations already have. It dismantles the safeguards that we currently enjoy – which seems counter-intuitive to us. This, alongside the removal of the section focused on legal but harmful content, is something that we believe must be included in the Bill. Our call for further regulation over child sexual abuse material can also not go unanswered.

“There is plenty of work still to be done and we look forward to moving this vital piece of legislation forward, alongside government, to ensure the voices of victims are not drowned out.”

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