Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has welcomed proposed changes to internet safety laws forcing technology firms to do more to protect children online.
The Home Office has announced plans to strengthen the Online Safety Bill which sets out a clear legal duty for technology companies to prevent, identify, and remove child sexual abuse content online.
Responding to the announcement, Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Keeping children safe is the responsibility of us all and it is vital that we work together to tackle this issue head on and remove the threat that children and young people face online.
“While the digital age has left us better connected, it is much easier for perpetrators to abuse communications platforms for harmful and unthinkable intentions, leaving children exposed to the growing dangers of online grooming and child sexual exploitation.
“This proposed legislation sets out how technology companies will have to take a more proactive role to prevent children and young people from experiencing abuse. With serious financial consequences for those who ignore these responsibilities, there will be a higher incentive for firms to work harder to protect their young users online and better identify those who prey on them.”
In an amendment to the Bill, the Home Office said technology firms would be responsible for developing or sourcing technology to mitigate the risks of child sexual exploitation. If they fail to act, OFCOM – the UK’s communications’ regulator – will be able to impose fines of up to £18million or 10 per cent of the company’s global annual turnover – depending on which is higher.
The Bill, which is currently before Parliament, is aimed at making the UK the safest place to be online.
Working alongside child protection agencies and technology companies, the government aims to drive the development of new and safer technologies across the industries so that criminals have nowhere to hide.
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