After five years and considerable debate throughout every stage of the Online Safety Bill's passage through parliament, the UK government has passed the Online Safety Act 2023 (OSA), a landmark legislation that aims to regulate the internet and make the UK the safest place to be online. The OSA, which received its Royal Assent in the Houses of Parliament on Thursday, 26 October, places legal responsibilities on technology companies to prevent and remove illegal content, such as terrorism or posts encouraging suicide or eating disorders or political disinformation that can undermine democracy. Technology companies in scope will need to comply with over 200 clauses, including age verification, preventing younger users from seeing age-inappropriate content, and giving parents easy pathways to report concerns. Companies that fail to comply with the new rules face fines of up to £18 million or 10% of their annual revenue, whichever is larger.
An interesting article by WIRED looks at how the Act came into existence.
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