In a speech on standards in public life, the Prime Minister today announced a review of the law relating to social media. She announced that the Law Commission conduct a review of current legislation on offensive online communications to ensure that laws are up to date with technology.
The Government has asked the Law Commission to conduct a review of the current laws around offensive online communications. The Law Commission has said that it will analyse:
- How the Malicious Communications Act 1988 deals with offensive online communications
- How the Communications Act 2003 deals with online communications
- What “grossly offensive” means and whether that poses difficulties in legal certainty
- Whether the law means you need to prove fault or prove intention to prosecute offensive online communications
- The need to update definitions in the law which technology has rendered obsolete or confused, such as the meaning of “sender”
- How other parts of the criminal law overlap with online communications laws
The Prime Minister also announced that the Government will introduce a comprehensive new social media code of practice this year, setting out clearly the minimum expectations on social media companies and an annual internet safety transparency report – providing UK data on offensive online content and what action is being taken to remove it.
In a press release the government said that it was outlining the steps to “make the UK the safest place to be online”.