Online harms and digital platformsGulistan Ladha
The three regulators CMA, ICO and Ofcom have announced the formation of a non-statutory body, Digital Regulation Cooperation to ensure online services work well for consumers and businesses. The forum brings together collective knowledge and will help to coordinate action and support the development of informed and responsive regulation. Through the forum the organisations aim to achieve coherent, informed and responsive regulation of the UK digital economy.
Separately, the CMA has published the final report of its market study Online platforms and digital advertising. CMA has found that competition is not working well in these markets, leading to substantial harm for consumers and society as a whole, and recommends that Government passes legislation to establish a new pro-competition regulatory regime. This also follows the recent publication of the report by the House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies, Digital Technology and the Resurrection of Trust, which addresses a number of concerns and makes 45 recommendations. Government is urged by the Committee to quickly publish an Online Harms Draft Bill and formally appoint the regulator (Ofcom).
Ofcom is also preparing to take on new duties for the regulation of UK-based video sharing platforms (VSPs), required under the new AVMS Directive. Platforms will be required to take appropriate measures to protect children from harmful content and to protect the general public from content containing illegal material and incitement to violence or hatred. Government has appointed Ofcom to act as the regulator for UK-established VSPs ahead of the full legislation on online harms. In developing guidance for the VSPs, Ofcom will seek views from companies, experts and the public through a consultation later this year once the necessary legislation has passed.