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Internet: Harassment

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL16849, tabled on 1 July 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce fines for cyber-harassment.

Answered on

10 July 2019

The Online Harms White Paper proposes establishing a new regulatory framework for online safety which will make clear companies’ responsibilities to keep UK users safer online under a new duty of care. This framework will be overseen by an independent regulator which will have effective enforcement powers. Among the sanctions available to the regulator will be the power to fine operators who do not comply with their new duty of care.

The government believes that behaviour which is illegal or unacceptable offline should be treated in the same way online and it is important to make sure that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and the Ministry of Justice have engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications.

The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make recommendations about options for reform. This will include considering whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law.