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UK: Ofcom launches public consultation on draft Children's Safety Code of Practice

On May 8, 2024, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) announced that it is seeking public comments on its draft Children's Safety Code of Practice (the Code). Among other things, the Code outlines practical measures Ofcom expects online services to take in order to meet their legal responsibilities to protect children online.

Scope

The Code applies to online services that enable the sharing of user-generated content (user-to-user services) and search services. Further, the Code differentiates the recommended safety measures based on the size, functionality, and risk associated with each service, with services posing greater risks to children, required to implement more stringent measures.

Proposed safety measures

The Code recommends that user-to-user services and search services should take several measures to protect children online, including:

  • introducing age verification checks to prevent children from seeing harmful content online;
  • monitoring safety measures to ensure that they are effective;
  • implementing a process to enable users to make complaints for services likely to be accessed by children;
  • assessing and mitigating the risks their services pose to children;
  • publishing the findings of children’s risk assessments; and
  • ensuring harmful material is filtered out or downranked in recommended content feeds.

Public comments can be submitted until July 17, 2024, by filling out a response form and emailing it to [email protected].

You can read the press release here, the Code here, and download the response form here.