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Child exploitation

Catch22 responds to introduction of the Online Safety Bill

Close-up of hands using a touchscreen mobile phone.

The Online Safety Bill was today introduced to Parliament. Catch22 responds to this major step forward for tackling growing harms seen online.

In response Catch22 Chief Development Officer Mat Ilic said:

“While there remains plenty of space for debate on specific areas of the Online Safety Bill, the beginning of accountability is significant for creating a safer online environment.

“Some of the new inclusions in the Bill reflect the recommendations in our latest online harms research with The Social Switch Project, including recognition of legal but harmful content, accountability for technology companies, and a demand for swift responses to harm which has occurred.

“Additionally, Catch22 welcomes the Bill addressing online fraud, cyber-flashing, and putting robust checks in place to prevent child access to pornography.

“Now that legislation is coming into place, we hope that this will motivate investment to ensure that all technology is robust, safe and accredited. The technology exists to prevent harm – such as preventing hate speech and using language algorithms that detect adults posing as children – but the application of innovative approach is yet to be adapted on a widespread scale.

“Finally, and most importantly, our communities must be given the literacy and resilience to deal with an online world. As is evident through the impact of programmes like The Social Switch Project, education for young people, parents and professionals must address the harms as well as the opportunities of our changing digital society.”