Lockhart welcomes recommendations on draft online safety bill

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has welcomed recommendations by the joint committee on the draft online safety bill which seeks to regulate social media. However, the DUP representative also added that the issue of anonymous accounts must be addressed through verification processes.

By Carla Lockhart Candidate

Upper Bann

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Mrs Lockhart has been a vocal campaigner on the issue of online abuse. She said,

"The report is exactly right when it talks about the need to "call time on the Wild West online". We need to ensure that people know the laws which apply offline will also apply to their online behaviour also. Self-regulation has not worked and big tech companies cannot escape their obligations forever.

Beyond the issue of online abuse it is right that steps are taken against scam adverts. Quite simply if they cannot be published on a billboard they shouldn't be allowed online.

It is a hugely wideranging bill and there will be many issues to be resolved as the Bill moves forward.

One key issue that must be addressed is online anonymity. We need this matter addressed if the Bill is to truly protect people online - whether that be threats, personal abuse, or cyber flashing. This can be done by easy verification processes. Those who chose to not be verified can then be barred from interacting with those who are. This would help cleanse the Internet of the some of the vile activity we see on a daily basis.

I want to see the main focus remain that activities which are illegal in the offline world receive the same legal coverage in the online realm. Those who facilitate such actions must also be accountable also and we need internet companies and social media platforms particularly being properly held to account with appropriate penalties.”

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