Ofcom introduces children's safety codes of practice under OSA

08/05/2024 | Ofcom

Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has introduced a draft Children's Safety Codes of Practice that instructs technology companies to implement more than 40 practical measures to protect children online as part of their obligations under the Online Safety Act 2023 (OSA). Among the measures, the codes require social media platforms, search and other online services to implement robust age verification checks to prevent children from accessing harmful content. Other measures include ensuring that the algorithms that recommend content do not operate in a way that harms children and that platforms introduce better content moderation practices. Ofcom has opened a consultation on the draft codes, responses must be submitted before 17 July.

The announcement follows a move by Ofcom last week to investigate OnlyFans after an age-checking error meant that the adult content platform allowed children to access pornography.

In a statement responding to the announcement, the Open Rights Group has warned about significant issues concerning the proposed implementation of age-verification measures, which they claim introduce risks to cybersecurity, privacy and freedom of expression. Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, said: "Adults will be faced with a choice: either limit their freedom of expression by not accessing content, or expose themselves to increased security risks that will arise from data breaches and phishing sites."

Additional legal analysis from Pinsent Masons.

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Online harm, online safety act

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