Insights Ofcom publishes roadmap for implementation of Online Safety Bill

Ofcom has set out its plans for putting online safety laws into practice and what it expects from tech firms, as the countdown to a safer life online continues.

Ofcom explains that the UK is preparing to become among the first countries in the world to introduce comprehensive new laws aimed at making online users safer. The Online Safety Bill will introduce rules for sites and apps such as social media, search engines and messaging platforms, as well as other services that people use to share content online.

These companies will have new duties to protect UK users by assessing and responding to risks of harm, as well as taking steps to address them. Ofcom will give guidance and set out codes of practice on how in-scope companies can comply with their duties.

Ofcom expects the Online Safety Bill to pass by early 2023, and its powers to come into force two months later. Ofcom has set out detailed plans for how it will quickly start to establish the new regime in the first 100 days after the Bill is passed. These plans are based on Ofcom’s current understanding of the Bill as it stands, and the likely timing for passage of legislation. Ofcom says it is ready and able to evolve its timelines and plans should the timing or substance of the Bill change.

Ofcom has also published a call for evidence focused on the matters that, as set out in the roadmap, will be included in its first consultation in 2023 (see item below). To read Ofcom’s press release in full and for a link to the roadmap, click here.