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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Internet Investigation Report

F.1: Background

1. In October 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) published its Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper.[1] The Green Paper considered proposals to tackle a wide range of online harms including, for example, hate crime and cyber bullying, and set out three key principles:[2]

  • what is unacceptable offline should be unacceptable online;
  • all users should be empowered to manage online risks and stay safe; and
  • technology companies have a responsibility to their users.

The Green Paper explained that the Home Office led the government’s response to online child sexual exploitation and abuse, so the Internet Safety Strategy would only make “appropriate links … where the Strategy offers additional solutions to these problems”.[3]

2. The government invited responses to the Green Paper and in May 2018 published its own response.[4] Its response set out plans for a social media code of practice and a requirement for companies to produce transparency reports providing data about the scale of harmful content on their platforms. The government also announced its intention to publish a joint DCMS and Home Office White Paper[5] which specifically included reference to both harmful and illegal online content.

3. In April 2019, the Online Harms White Paper was published.[6] Having set out its proposals (considered below), the government posed a number of consultation questions. The consultation period ran from 8 April 2019 to 1 July 2019 and thus spanned the second public hearing in this investigation. The initial consultation response was published in 2020.[7]

References

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