general news

Tech firms may go behind the bars post Tory MPs revolt on online child safety

Tech firms may go behind the bars post Tory MPs revolt on online child safety

Tech executives could reportedly be sentenced to prison for failing to safeguard children online after the government caved into a backbench revolt.

In order to add two-year sentences for managers failing to prevent minors from viewing hazardous content, around 50 Tory MPs wanted to change the Online Safety Bill.

Apparently, the action was supported by Labour as well, which put the government in a losing position.

Ministers have now pledged to put out similar suggestions as part of an agreement with the rebels to avoid defeat.

Since coming into office in October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has caved in three separate instances to wayward backbenchers.

Reportedly, this comes after compromises made toward the end of last year around council housing objectives and onshore wind farm restrictions.

The proposed law would require administrators of websites that host user-generated content, notably social media platforms, to take proportionate actions to prevent children from viewing inappropriate content.

According to the draft bill, this might be accomplished through techniques including parental controls, material removal, and age verification.

Currently, the plan only holds managers legally accountable for withholding information from media regulator Ofcom, which will have the extensive new legal authority to regulate the internet.

Reportedly, making managers accountable in the bill for failing to comply with the broader safety requirements was discarded following a consultation prior to the bill's introduction, which found that it could make Britain’s tech sector less viable.

Companies that violate their legal obligations, notably those relating to the protection of minors, risk fines of up to 10% of their global income.

The Tory rebels, however, had maintained that the only way to guarantee the implementation of the child protection rules is for firm executives to be personally liable.

The rebels have decided to drop their amendment after discussions with Michelle Donelan, Culture Secretary, over the weekend.

In return, the government has now promised to submit a similar bill of its own when the measure reaches the House of Lords, providing ministers extra time to refine the wording.

Source credit:

About the author

Pooja Sharma

Pursuing her professional career as a content writer for over two years now, Pooja Sharma is endowed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature. The articles that she writes are a balanced blend of her ever-growing love of language and the technical expertise that she has gained over the years. Currently Pooja pens insightful articles for Newsorigins and numerous other websites, covering subjects such as business, finance, and technology.