Carnegie UK Trust Submit Response to the UK Government’s Online Harms White Paper

July 1, 2019

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The Carnegie UK Trust have submitted their full response to the UK Government’s Online Harms White Paper, which set out the Government’s proposals for regulation to keep UK users safe online.

The response notes that the White Paper is a significant step in attempts to improve the online environment, but recommends that the DCMS Secretary of State promptly clarify core elements of the Government’s proposition. Primarily, the response calls for clarity in the Government’s definition of a statutory “duty of care” and recommends confirming the systemic nature of the proposed duty of care, incorporating broader service design and maintenance and moving away from what is too heavy a focus, via prescriptive codes of practice, on ‘take-down’ of content.

The response also provides detailed feedback on the individual elements of White Paper including the regulator, the scope of coverage, both in terms of services included and the nature of harms involved and provides commentary on a proportionate and practical approach to delivering the proposal into law.

A full reference paper drawing together the work on a statutory duty of care was published in April 2019, prior to the publication of the Online Harms White Paper and can be viewed here.

In conjunction with the Response Paper, the Carnegie UK Trust has also joined with six other organisations – Demos, doteveryone, the Fawcett Society, Glitch, Institute for Strategic Dialogue and Privacy International – to release a Joint Statement setting out why the Government’s Online Harms White Paper and its proposal for a duty of care should do more to address harms arising to our democracy. Read the joint statement here.

 

Notes

The project has been led by Professor Lorna Woods (University of Essex, Professor of Internet Law), William Perrin (Trustee, Carnegie UK Trust) and Maeve Walsh (Associate, Carnegie UK Trust) and is based on 18 months of detailed work to develop a public policy proposal to improve the safety of some users of internet services in the United Kingdom.

The fully body of work relating to this response paper, can be viewed on the Carnegie UK Trust website.