Today, Wednesday 12 February, DCMS and The Home Office have published their initial response to the Online Harms white paper consultation. The consultation took place over 12 weeks from April 2019. ISBA responded to public consultation on the white paper in July, which you can view here

You can see ISBA Director General Phil Smith's statement on the latest government response below:

“The online harms consultation came about because of issues which are critically important to our society. From tackling terrorist content to protecting young people from abuse and material that threatens their mental health, we have worked with our members and with technology companies to improve their response and build trust.

“It is absolutely right that government is taking further action, and there is much to welcome in this initial consultation response. We are pleased that Ministers recognise the importance of freedom of expression and the need to maintain a vibrant public square. This is essential if we are to continue to back enterprise and support the advertising sector, which is the engine of our successful, exporting creative industries.

“ISBA has long advocated the need for proportionate regulation of digital platforms. We support the granting to Ofcom of the power to help deliver an effective, fairly-funded, and collaborative regulatory environment – establishing common principles and codes of conduct, and supporting systemic transparency and accountability. We look forward to Ofcom evolving its expertise to meet what is a novel challenge.

“We look forward to seeing the full response to the consultation in the Spring, including the Government’s thinking on online age verification.

“This is the first attempt of its kind to regulate the online space. The world is looking to the UK, so it is important that advertisers, platforms and trade bodies work in partnership with government to get this right.”

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Written 12th February 2020
By Sarah Chetta