Ofcom, the media watchdog, has joined calls for independent internet regulation, following research warning that 21 per cent of Brits have been harmed by web content.
The regulator’s chief executive, Sharon White, has published a document claiming 12 million people in the UK have experienced harassment, fraud and abuse online. Ofcom suggested that principles from broadcasting regulation could be relevant as the government begins to consider how to legislate to tackle this abuse.
The home secretary has warned technology companies to do more to tackle abuse on the web. “I’m not just asking for change, I’m demanding it,” Sajid Javid said. “I will not be afraid to take action.”
A summary of the findings from Ofcom’s report:
– 79 per cent of UK adult internet users have concern(s) about aspects of going online
– 66 per cent are concerned about content that people view, read or listen to online
– 58 per cent are concerned about data/privacy
– 55 per cent are concerned about interactions with other users
– 54 per cent are concerned about hacking/security
– 45 per cent of UK adult internet users indicated that they have experienced some form of online harm
– 21 per cent of UK adult internet users have taken action to report harmful content
– The broadcast and online regulatory framework is not well understood by a significant proportion of the public
– Views are split on whether current regulations are sufficient, or whether more is required. Few believe regulation should be reduced
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