UK Government has issued New Online Safety guidance dated June 29, 2021 to help tech companies better protect users online was published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Salient features of the guidance are as follows:

  1. Advice for businesses will provide a ‘one stop shop’ on child online safety which will also help bosses implement crucial safety measures for children users ahead of the government’s forthcoming Online Safety Bill. Under the bill tech firms will be required to assess the risks posed to people using their services and provide safer environments for users. The guidance is targeted at companies whose online platforms are used by children, such as social media or gaming platforms.
  2. This will help businesses such as start-ups find the information they need so they can build safe products from the development stages right through to the user experience.
  3. Research has shown small companies are less confident in their ability to find information on child online safety compared to medium and large companies.
  4. The guidance prescribes safety at the heart of platform design to minimise the risk of online harm occurring. It advises companies about providing an age-appropriate experience for children using tools such as age assurance and age verification methods.
  5. This includes encouraging adults to set services’ safety measures to high by default so they can’t be changed by children, recommending that firms make it easier for users to report harmful content or behaviour, and for companies to block high-risk search terms – for example around illegal terrorist content.
  6. It includes advice on how to protect children’s personal data, address abuse and encourage positive behaviour online, and how to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse. It also recommends applying and actively enforcing minimum age limits and reporting child sexual exploitation and abuse.
  7. Firms will be able to use technologies being developed by the UK’s growing safety tech sector which is pioneering new solutions to the challenges of keeping people safe online. It is a UK success story and expanded by 43 per cent last year, created 500 new jobs and saw its revenues reach £314 million.

*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this story together.

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