A new white paper suggests that the U.K. government will propose that a new regulatory body, or two, could be set up to deal with online regulations. While details of the proposals have come to light, the department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) has said it is not ready to share any information at this time and will publish the white paper in the winter.
According to BuzzFeed News who shared details of the proposals, the regulator would be in charge of ensuring that social networks verify the age of their users, it’d also be responsible for ensuring social media platforms remove terrorist content and child abuse images. If websites refuse to comply, the regulator could levy fines and other punishments on offenders.
A second new regulator could also be established that would restrict online advertisements for food and soft drink products that are high in salt, fat, or sugar – a 2015 World Health Organisation said that the U.K. had one of the highest levels of obesity in the European Union and Europe. The regulator would be accountable to parliament too according to the details.
Discussing the proposals, a spokesperson for the government said:
“This winter we will publish a White Paper, setting out new laws to tackle the full range of online harms and set clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe. We are considering all options, including what legislation will be necessary and whether a regulator is needed.”
Ofcom’s head, Sharon White, said that tech companies ought to be regulated in the same way as the mobile phone and broadband industries, saying that certain principles from broadcasting regulation could be relevant as lawmakers consider issues around online protection.