The Online Harms White Paper represents the first comprehensive policy proposal to address the problems at the intersection of democracy, society and big tech. Top of mind in this proposal is protecting the public from the most harmful content on the Internet — violent extremism, child predation, hate crimes and other illegal activity. But this White Paper is more than a wake-up call for Internet companies to do a better job of stopping illegal activity on their platforms. The government recognises that the problem of harmful content is tied to the problems of data protection, monopoly market power, election security, and digital literacy. The deeper causes of disinformation and radicalization online are rooted in the exploitation of the data economy. The menu of remedies must be broad and future proof in a world of rapidly evolving technology. It will require new ways to limit illegal activity as well as strengthening the hands of data, competition, and election regulators. Despite the tumult of Brexit debates, the British government has taken a thoughtful and decisive step towards a new generation of internet policy.
Read more on our views in our Digital Democracy Charter and Action Plan.