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Bradley wants to make Britain the safest place in the world to be online

Matteo Natalucci Published 11 October 2017

DCMS’s new proposals aims to tackle growing online dangers, while continuing to embrace the benefits and opportunities the Internet has brought for British citizens


Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has proposed a new Internet Safety Strategy to crack down on dangers like cyber-bullying, trolling and under-age access to porn.

The government’s Internet Safety Strategy proposes the introduction of a new social media code of practice to see a joined-up approach to remove or address bullying, intimidating or humiliating online content as well as an annual internet safety transparency report to show progress on addressing abusive and harmful content and conduct. DCMS also seeks support for tech and digital startups to think safety first - ensuring that necessary safety features are built into apps and products from the very start.

While DCMS will take a leading role in delivering the Strategy, it will work with a wide range of partners across Government, including the Home Office, the Department for Education, the Department for Health and the Ministry of Justice.

The strategy sets out the government’s ambition to create a strong framework which can tackle online harms. All options will be carefully considered, working collaboratively with industry and charities and supporting children, parents and carers.

Government will encourage social media companies to offer safety advice and tools to parents and safety messages will be built into online platforms.

It is proposed that the UK Council for Child Internet Safety becomes the UK Council for Internet Safety to consider the safety of all users, not just children, and help deliver the measures within the Strategy.

This is just the first part of work to develop a Digital Charter, which will provide a framework for how businesses and individuals should act online so everyone can benefit from new technologies.

Karen Bradley, DCMS secretary of State, said, “The Internet has been an amazing force for good, but it has caused undeniable suffering and can be an especially harmful place for children and vulnerable people.

Bradley said, “Behaviour that is unacceptable in real life is unacceptable on a computer screen. We need an approach to the Internet that protects everyone without restricting growth and innovation in the digital economy.”

“Our ideas are ambitious - and rightly so. Collaboratively, government, industry, parents and communities can keep citizens safe online, but only by working together”, Bradley added.

David Wright, director of the UK Safer Internet Centre said, “As the national centre dedicated to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online, the UK Safer Internet Centre, a partnership of three charities - Childnet, the Internet Watch Foundation and South West Grid for Learning – welcomes any piece of work that helps deliver this objective.

Wright  added, “Technology plays a fundamental role in everyone’s lives presenting both opportunities and threats. Our aim is to promote national collaboration around these issues to deliver positive change among children and young people and those who support them through education and increased awareness of the safe and responsible use of technology.”

The strategy complements the action already taken by the Government to stop the spread of poisonous material and propaganda on the internet that could lead people down the path towards terrorism.

Recently the UK and France joined forces to tackle online radicalisation with plans that could lead to much stronger action against tech companies who fail to remove unacceptable content.

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