Online Harms

The (reasonably) recent release of the UK government’s Online Harms White Paper (OHWP) brought with it some interesting (and somewhat) helpful positions about online harms.

Why should you care?

Well, we think it matters for two reasons.

(1) The OHWP lays out the direction for Government (and hence points towards the sort of regulatory things that might impact businesses) and

(2) It has the input of a decent number of people with experience in this area, and so acts as a good reference point.

But there’s one area that we found particularly important to look at, and that was the categorisation of Online Harms. There’s a couple of take away points here that we think should be raised:

  1. It recognises that the list is not exhaustive and is expected to evolve over time
  2. It de-scopes some things that, whilst there is still a requirement for businesses to protect against, the OHWP feels is out of scope.

The first is the most important we think. For us, it is a ringing endorsement of our approach and thinking. Many other companies have taken (either deliberately or as a result of their legacy) an approach that focuses on CSEA or CSAM and may have built some other protection mechanisms in. We have always started from the position of understanding ALL online harms and focusing on protection against all.

This government recognition of the full suite of harms (and that it is constantly evolving) helps you start thinking about your Online Harm protection plan. Time to stop thinking just about Safeguarding or CSEA, but thinking more holistically about Online Harms.

So what are these harms?

  • Online CSEA
  • Terrorist content
  • Illegal upload from prisons
  • Gang culture and incitement to serious violence
  • Sale of illegal goods & services e.g. drugs & weapons
  • Organised immigration crime
  • Modern slavery
  • Extreme pornography
  • Revenge pornography
  • Hate Crime
  • Cyber bullying and trolling
  • Advocacy of self-harm
  • Encouraging or assisting suicide
  • Sexting of indecent images by under 18s
  • Self Generate Indecent Imagery (SGII)
  • Online dis-information
  • Harassment & cyberstalking
  • Intimidation
  • Extremist content and activity
  • Coercive behaviour
  • Violent Content
  • Promotion of FGM
  • Children accessing pornography
  • Children accessing inappropriate material
  • Online manipulation
  • Interference with legal proceedings

Clearly, it’s unlikely that you will have a plan, or measures in place to address all of these, but do you think it’s worth getting in touch with someone that can help you? If you want some help making head or tail of this, get in touch.

Best

Matt

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