Schedule 17 - Video-sharing platform services: transitional provision etc

Online Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:15 pm ar 15 Rhagfyr 2022.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Amendments made: 94, in schedule 17, page 235, line 43, leave out paragraph (c).

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 6 (removal of clause 12).

Amendment 95, in schedule 17, page 236, line 27, at end insert—

“(da) the duties set out in sections (Duty not to act against users except in accordance with terms of service) and (Further duties about terms of service) (terms of service);”.—

This amendment ensures that services already regulated under Part 4B of the Communications Act 2003 (video-sharing platform services) are not required to comply with the new duties imposed by NC3 and NC4 during the transitional period.

Question proposed, That the schedule, as amended, be the Seventeenth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Alex Davies-Jones Alex Davies-Jones Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Minister (Tech, Gambling and the Digital Economy)

Labour welcomes schedule 17, which the Government introduced on Report. We see this schedule as clarifying exactly how the existing video-sharing platform regime will be repealed and the transitional provisions that will apply to those providers as they transition to the online safety framework. The schedule is fundamentally important for both providers and users, as it establishes the formal requirements of these platforms as we move the requirement to this new legislation.

We welcome the clarification in paragraph 1(1) of the definition of a qualifying video-sharing service. On that point, I would be grateful if the Minister clarified the situation around livestreaming video platforms and whether this schedule would also apply to them. Throughout this Bill Committee, we have heard just how dangerous and harmful live video-sharing platforms can be, so this is an important point to clarify.

I have spoken at length about the importance of capturing the harms on these platforms, particularly in the context of child sexual exploitation being livestreamed online, which, thanks to the brilliant work of International Justice Mission, we know is a significant and widespread issue. I must make reference to the IJM’s findings from its recent White Paper, which highlighted the extent of the issue in the Philippines, which is widely recognised as a source country for livestreamed sexual exploitation of children. It found that traffickers often use cheap Android smartphones with pre-paid cellular data services to communicate with customers and produce and distribute explicit material. To reach the largest possible customer base, they often connect with sexually motivated offenders through everyday technology—the same platforms that the rest of us use to communicate with friends, family and co-workers.

One key issue in assessing the extent of online sexual exploitation of children is that we are entirely dependent on the detection of the crime, but the reality is that most current technologies that are widely used to detect various forms of online sexual exploitation of children are not designed to recognise livestreaming video services. This is an important and prolific issue, so I hope the Minister can assure me that the provisions in the schedule will apply to those platforms too.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We are setting out in schedule 17 how the existing video-sharing platform regime will be repealed in the transitional provisions that apply to these providers as they transition to the online safety framework. My understanding is that it does include livestreaming, but I will obviously write to the hon. Lady if I have got that wrong. I am not sure there is a significant legal effect here. To protect children and treat services fairly while avoiding unnecessary burdens on business, we are maintaining the current user protections in the VSP regime while the online safety framework is being implemented. That approach to transition avoids the duplication of regulation.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 17, as amended, accordingly agreed to.