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New Digital Safety Laws Planned For The U.K.

New digital safety laws proposed in the U.K. will target social media platforms and companies that facilitate gaming online, who the government feel aren't doing enough to keep their users safe from abuse and exploitation. If you are affected by online abuse, follow the links throughout the article to our various support services.

The U.K.’s culture secretary Matt Hancock has unveiled new plans for digital safety laws to combat child exploitation, cyberbullying, extremism and any other harmful online practices. In addition to social media and streaming platforms – it is thought the changes will also target the online gaming community.

At this stage, the proposed laws are vague but Matt Hancock did highlight an existing data protection bill which can see companies being fined up to 4 percent of their global turnover if they aren’t deemed to be doing everything they can to safeguard their users. Whilst discussing the proposed changes with the BBC, Mr Hancock also explained how he was “very worried” that underage children are able to create and use social media accounts so easily. The digital secretary believes that age verification when signing up to anything online, should be obligatory.

“The measures we’re taking forward today will help make sure children are protected online and balance the need for safety with the great freedoms the internet brings just as we have to strike this balance offline.”

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Government officials in the U.K. believe that digital companies are not doing enough to protect their users – leaving them feeling “powerless” when it comes to combatting safety concerns. Mr Hancock berated online companies lack of co-operation, explaining that only four of the fourteen companies contacted showed up to discuss the matter when asked to do so.

“I want to address the Wild West elements of the internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation.”

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

In order to push these new laws and ensure they are being enforced correctly, charities, government ministers and the general public will be working together on a white paper later in 2018 that will set out the new legislation. Mr Hancock has indicated that the new laws will be ready at some point within the next “couple of years.”

If you are affected by bullying, online abuse or harassment we can help you. Visit our Cyberbullying and Digital Abuse Help Center or learn more about the various ways we can help you with your particular problem through our Total Access Support section. For more information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the suggestions below.

What are your thoughts on the proposed legislation changes? Share your thoughts with us by contacting us or tweet us @CybersmileHQ.