Online services and apps have become increasingly integral to all parts of our daily lives. The transformative potential of these services is largely positive – helping us found new businesses, collaborate with others, and unlock new ways to learn, create, collaborate, and communicate. And yet, these same services have also exposed users to new forms of harmful content and activity – from online scams to hate speech and illegal extremist communication; bullying and harassment to child sexual exploitation and abuse.
In light of these challenges, the Government intends to make Ofcom the UK regulator for online safety. Ofcom’s role will be to hold online services to account for the steps they take to protect their users from harmful content, in order to ensure a safer life online for UK internet users
This is an exciting opportunity to engage with some of the most thought-provoking and important regulatory policy challenges of the 21st century. At the cutting edge of debates around online safety are critical trade-offs which will determine how people experience online services in the future.
How can we ensure appropriate protections for users while maintaining freedom of expression and privacy? How can we raise safety standards, whilst preserving a competitive and innovative market for online services which continues to deliver new benefits to consumers?
The regulatory framework we’re building is one of the first of its kind and will set the standard for the future. We’ll need to draw upon the widest pool of talent and expertise to deliver evidence-based and proportionate answers to these regulatory questions.
We’ll need to take account of a range of views on all sides of these debates and arrive at balanced decisions which are informed by a detailed understanding of how and why different harms manifest online. We’ll need to work innovatively to identify solutions to complex and multi-faceted problems. We want curious and collaborative people with a range of backgrounds and experiences to ensure this vital work is done right. It’s going to be exciting and career changing stuff.
For more information on the Online Safety Bill and Ofcom’s preparation for our new role, please read our Roadmap to Regulation.