Skip to main content

IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

Recommendations and responses related to the Internet investigation report

These recommendations were made in the Internet investigation report.

Require industry to pre-screen material


The government should require industry to pre-screen material before it is uploaded to the internet to prevent access to known indecent images of children.


On 10 November 2020, the UK Government noted that it had launched the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. The interim code of practice on tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse and the Voluntary Principles, set out the UK Government’s expectation that all companies will prevent access to known child sexual abuse material, which includes pre-screening. 

On 12 May 2021, the UK Government published the draft Online Safety Bill. The Bill includes a clause that imposes duties on regulated search services with regards to illegal content, which includes child sexual abuse and exploitation material. The clause requires service providers to ensure they have proportionate systems and processes to minimise the risk of users encountering illegal content that the provider knows about on their services because they have been alerted to it or they become aware of it in some other way.

Prevent access to indecent images globally


The government should press the WeProtect Global Alliance to take more action internationally to ensure that those countries hosting indecent images of children implement legislation and procedures to prevent access to such imagery.


On 10 November 2020, the UK Government noted that it will continue to work collaboratively with the WeProtect Global Alliance (WPGA) to continue to make combatting indecent images of children, grooming and live streaming a top priority. The UK Government stated that this will be done through its board meetings and by ensuring the WPGA further develops and disseminates key resources, such as the Model National Response, Global Threat Assessment and Global Strategic Response framework. 

Introduce age verification legislation


The government should introduce legislation requiring providers of online services and social media platforms to implement more stringent age verification techniques on all relevant devices.


On 10 November 2020, the UK Government noted that it expects age assurance methods, including age verification, will play a key role in the online harms regulatory framework. The UK Government stated it is working closely with stakeholders to consider what could be delivered ahead of, and through, the online harms regulatory framework. Ahead of legislation, the Government stated that it will publish guidance on embedding ‘safety by design’ principles into the design and development of online products and services. The Government noted that this will serve as best practice for reducing online harms for users, especially children. 

On 29 June 2021, the Government published online safety guidance including child online safety guidance for businesses and tech companies. The guidance is distinct and separate from the forthcoming regulatory requirements that will be introduced through the Online Safety Bill. The guidance advocates putting safety at the heart of a platform's design to minimise the risk of online harm occurring. It advises companies about providing an age-appropriate experience for children using tools such as age assurance and age verification methods.

On 12 May 2021, the UK Government published the draft Online Safety Bill. This includes a clause that providers of regulated services conduct an assessment of whether children are likely to access their service. The clause states that providers can only conclude that it is not possible for a child to access a service if there are robust systems and processes such as effective age verification measures in place that ensure children are not normally able to access the service. Part 6 of the Bill also provides for the powers of the Secretary of State to review the regulatory framework established by the Bill.

On 8 February 2022, the UK government announced that the Online Safety Bill will include a new legal duty that requires all sites hosting pornographic material to have age verification technology. Companies will be fined for not complying and senior managers would be held criminally liable.

Publish interim code of practice


The government should publish, without further delay, the interim code of practice in respect of child sexual abuse and exploitation as proposed by the Online Harms White Paper (published April 2019).


On 15 December 2020, the UK Government published the interim code of practice in respect of child sexual abuse and exploitation. 

Recommendations process

You can find out about our process for monitoring responses by visiting our web page.

Investigation report

View the Internet investigation report in its entirety.

Back to top