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Online Harms White Paper: Full government response to the consultation

Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and by the Secretary of State for the Home Department by Command of Her Majesty on 15 December 2020

The Online Harms White Paper is the “most comprehensive approach yet to online regulation” and ~counterpart to the EU’s Digital Services Act.

The Online Harms White Paper set out the government’s ambition to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online, and the best place to grow and start a digital business. It described a new regulatory framework establishing a duty of care on companies to improve the safety of their users online, overseen and enforced by an independent regulator. This will build public trust in the services that these companies are offering, and support a thriving and fast-growing digital sector. The White Paper proposed that regulation be proportionate and risk-based, ensuring companies have appropriate systems and processes in place to tackle harmful content and activity. It also made clear that the framework will protect users’ rights, including freedom of expression online.

This response to the Online Harms White Paper sets out plans for a new duty of care to make companies take responsibility for the safety of their users. It builds on our manifesto commitment to introduce legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online but at the same time defend freedom of expression.

Read the UK Government Response to the Consultation on the White Paper.