On May 12, 2021, the U.K. government published its draft Online Safety Bill which will place a legal obligation on online platform operators and interactive website owners to swiftly remove illegal content. Under the draft bill, very large online platforms, such as social media sites, will also be required to moderate content which, while not illegal, poses a risk of harm to children and vulnerable adults.
The new U.K. law will introduce a tiered system which will bring organizations into scope if their online services are used by a significant number of U.K. residents, even if the organizations themselves are based outside of the UK.
The 145-page draft Online Safety Bill categorizes organizations based on the number of people using their online services. Large social media sites are likely to be classed as “Category 1” organizations and will have greater obligations to moderate content uploaded and shared by billions of users. “Category 2” organizations are likely to include any interactive community platform that promotes the sharing of user-generated content, such as travel sites, online gaming, dating, private messaging and retail sites.
Under the proposals, the U.K. Office of Communications (Ofcom), which regulates television, radio and video sharing platforms in the U.K., will be given the power to fine organizations up to 10 percent of their qualifying revenue if they fail to adequately moderate online content, with the risk that access to noncompliant services could ultimately be blocked in the U.K.
As a provider of visual content risk management and moderation technology to multiple global organizations, Image Analyzer commissioned this whitepaper, written by technology lawyers from Bird & Bird LLP.
While it is anticipated that there may be further changes to the draft legislation, this whitepaper provides early guidance to organizations that could be in scope to comply with the U.K. Online Safety regulation, which is expected to pass into law by 2022.
In the 15-page whitepaper, Bird & Bird explains what the U.K. legal proposals cover, which types of organizations are likely to be in scope to comply, how the U.K. government plans to categorize organizations and the penalties for noncompliance, as well as offering guidance on steps American organizations with U.K. service users can consider taking in preparation for the new law being passed.
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