LOS ANGELES — The U.K. government has appointed telecoms and broadcasting regulator Ofcom to enforce rules intended to safeguard internet users.
The move was spurred by widespread public concern that online platforms aren’t doing enough to ensure that their services are safe for all users, particularly children, with a recent Ofcom report revealing that 61 percent of adults and 79 percent of 12-15-year-old internet users reported having had at least one potentially harmful experience online within the past 12 months.
The Online Harms White Paper explored proposals to tackle these issues and received over 2,400 responses during a public comment period from companies in the technology industry including large tech giants and small- and medium-sized enterprises, academics, think tanks, children’s charities, rights groups, publishers, governmental organizations and individuals. In parallel to the consultation process, the government undertook extensive consultations with representatives from industry, civil society and others — including top age verification service providers.
The news of Ofcom’s appointment came in a statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and is the country’s initial response to the public consultation on the recently published Online Harms White Paper.