To help you understand more about the UK Government’s newly released Internet Safety Strategy green paper and how it seeks to improve internet safety, online safety expert John Carr offers highlights of what you need to know.
At last we have the long-awaited Green Paper setting out the Government’s thinking on what a new internet safety strategy might look like.
Containing almost 60 pages of densely written text, it pretty much covers the entire online child safety and child welfare horizon plus a couple of extra bits e.g. fraud and older people. In addition, while online dating sites and hate speech have not, historically, been part of the children’s internet agenda, the fact is they definitely are now so well done to all for including them.
We simply do not know the truth about the real scale and nature of what is happening to children and young people on the different platforms and how well, or otherwise, the companies responsible are addressing them, within what timescales and so on. And just to make it clear, the we here is not just policy wonks, it is parents, teachers and children and young people themselves.
Given the absolutely central role the internet plays in all our lives it is no longer acceptable for companies to ask everybody to take everything on trust. With great power comes great responsibility and with great responsibility also comes a need for accountability.
There can be no real accountability without transparency. The transparency dimension is also to be voluntary but on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State with responsibility in this area, was quite clear (paraphrasing)
If this voluntary approach does not work we will legislate.
We have all been warned.
Closing date for comments on the Green Paper is 7th December.
Watch short clip featuring Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters discussing how the new strategy hopes to improve children’s online safety.