Safety net: how governments are working to protect citizens online

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March 16, 2021
Digital & technology

While the internet has many benefits, it can also be a dark, dangerous space: citizens of all ages face harms such as hate crime, fake news, sexual exploitation and terrorist propaganda. So governments are moving to protect people’s wellbeing and privacy in the digital world, finding new ways to tackle threats such as cyber-bullying and online grooming.

For example, in Australia the government is consulting on its Online Safety Bill, which provides new powers to help keep people safe. In the UK, the government intends to give media regulator Ofcom the power to impose big fines on social media sites that carry content such as terrorist propaganda and material encouraging suicide. And in the US, president-elect Joe Biden has named Bruce Reed as his technology adviser: Reed helped draft California’s online privacy law, and has argued that tech firms should be more accountable for user content. Meanwhile, around the world a ‘safety tech’ industry is emerging to provide the tools required by governments and citizens.

In recent years, governments and businesses have acted to tackle online crimes such as hacking and fraud. Now many are focusing on ways to balance the right to free speech with the need to prevent harm online. Bringing together civil servants and industry leaders from around the world, this webinar will discuss how to create policy, regulatory, legislative and technical frameworks to protect people from harm without stifling economic growth, open debate or public access to digital services.