Parliamentary committee seeks views on draft Online Safety Bill

The DCMS Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation has launched an inquiry to gather views on how to best tackle harmful online content. The draft Online Safety Bill, published on 12 May 2021, requires tech companies to address “illegal content” and “content that is harmful to children”, as well as “content that is harmful to adults”.

The DCMS Sub-Committee is inviting written submissions by the end of 3 September on the following areas:

  • How has the shifting focus between ‘online harms’ and ‘online safety’ influenced the development of the new regime and draft Bill?
  • Is it necessary to have an explicit definition and process for determining harm to children and adults in the Online Safety Bill, and what should it be?
  • Does the draft Bill focus enough on the ways tech companies could be encouraged to consider safety and/or the risk of harm in platform design and the systems and processes that they put in place?
  • What are the key omissions to the draft Bill, such as a general safety duty or powers to deal with urgent security threats, and (how) could they be practically included without compromising rights such as freedom of expression.
  • Are there any contested inclusions, tensions or contradictions in the draft Bill that need to be more carefully considered before the final Bill is put to Parliament?
  • What are the lessons that the Government should learn when directly comparing the draft Bill to existing and proposed legislation around the world?

See the DCMS Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation article