A cyber-security company is advising people and businesses that the new online safety bill doesn’t mean an end to personal responsibility.
Jim Hawkins from Dorset-headquartered C3IA Solutions fears that some people will take less interest in the dangers of social media after the bill is passed.
The new laws aim to protect people online by making social media companies more responsible for users’ safety.
It is having a bumpy passage through parliament with some concerned about the subjective nature of wording, possible restrictions on freedoms of speech and expression, and a fear of censorship.
The bill will make social media companies responsible for removing illegal content quickly or prevent it being posted in the first place.
It is designed to stop children from accessing harmful content, will enforce age limits and provide a way for people to report issues.
Furthermore, it will empower adult internet users with the ability to tailor the type of content they see.
Children will be automatically prevented from seeing this type of content.
But Jim Hawkins of Poole-based C3IA Solutions says that once the bill is passed people shouldn’t think their personal responsibility to protect themselves, their families or businesses is over.
He said: “This is a hugely complex area and Government still has several areas to address but the bill remains a legislative priority and is expected to get Royal Assent by the summer.
“Whatever happens with the bill we are urging people to take control of their own online lives, and those of their children and businesses.
“This involves parents, carers and also educational organisations helping inform children from a young age about the dangers they may face online and when using social media.
“And the education shouldn’t stop there – businesses should consider offering training to their employees.
“Companies can quite easily get dragged into issues that may cause reputational damage, so it is in their interest to make sure employees know about online risks.
“New applications and platforms emerge all the time and each potentially introduces new worries and dangers, so education must be on-going.
“What we don’t want is for people to think that because there is an online safety bill they don’t need to be concerned about it. They do.
“Personal responsibility will always be important where the internet is concerned, along with education and training.
“Laws will help and make some things safer and, whilst the internet brings us many great benefits, it’s always best to assume that dangers still exist online and that some things are not what they appear to be.
“It will also become important for people to report these dangers and illegal content when they come across them.”