MPs propose criminal liability for tech managers in Online Safety Bill

Just before the Online Safety Bill moved to the House of Lords, MPs tabled amendments that would introduce criminal liability for senior managers at tech companies for serious breaches of the Bill. The amendment proposes a criminal sentence of up to two years if managers fail to comply with the child protection duties under the Bill, which requires all tech firms within its scope to protect children from harmful content.

Some stakeholders have said that the proposed amendment is too wide. For example, the campaign group Article 19 said: ‘If passed, this provision would further incentivise platforms to remove any controversial content that could potentially be accessed by children to avoid criminal charges – with little regard for users’ human rights. This is particularly true given the vague concepts and definitions that underlie the child protection duties under the Bill.’

The Bill will be debated in the House of Lords on 1 February.

See the current version of the Bill