This week’s roundup in I.T. and tech news focusses on potential changes to the regulation of the internet in the UK; new government action to tackle child abuse; and the measures which the Bank of England is taking to combat cybercrime.
UK Government considering dedicated internet regulator
Margot James, the Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, has told the House of Lords Communications Committee that the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will recommend the creation of some form of dedicated, regulatory body for the internet in the coming months.
Currently, certain aspects are regulated by a number of different bodies, such as telecoms regulator Ofcom, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) however, James explained this cannot feasibly continue.
The belief is that because of the reliance on online work in the current regulatory system, and since the current online climate presents such a number of difficult and unique challenges, there is too much of a gap in the regulatory armoury, allowing activity to go through the system unchecked.
Ofcom’s group director of content and media policy, Kevin Bakhurst, took a similar line to James, saying the rules governing what online activities regulators could and could not act to control were not at all clear.
Read more via Computer Weekly.
New government action announced to tackle online child abuse
This week, Home Secretary Sajid Javid will travel to Silicon Valley in an attempt to assess the progress tech giants are making towards eradicating online child sexual exploitation (CSE).
On top of this, Javid will also be travelling to Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond to convene a ‘hackathon’, which will see industry experts work together in order to invent tools to detect cases of online child grooming.
Javid has made tackling CSE his prerogative, concerning all aspects of the crime. In September, he set out a mission to drive an improved response to the terrible scale of child sexual abuse online in a speech to the NSPCC.
On the 6th November, the Home Secretary announced that he commissioned the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to look at how advertising is funding CSE activity.
This is a problem, since even adverts for legitimate items are appearing on sites that promote and host child abuse and grooming content. The work by the IWF will help outline the scale of the problem and outline a way in which the government should respond.
On top of this, Javid will chair a new taskforce, bringing together representatives from advertising agencies, trade bodies and brands to discuss the further steps that are required to ensure criminals do not have access to this funding stream.
“Keeping our children safe is my mission as Home Secretary and it is vital tech companies take their responsibility seriously.” Javid said.
Bank of England tests cybersecurity through war game exercises
The Bank of England is taking part in cyberattack war game exercises in a bid to help combat the threats posed by hackers. Testing the resilience of its online structure, the exercises have been designed by the Bank of England with aid from the Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ)’s National Cyber Security Centre.
The Bank of England commented: “This exercise forms a vital part of the sector wide biennial process that seeks to ensure the industry is prepared for and can respond effectively to any major disruption stemming from a cyber incident, protecting the financial system on which the public relies.”
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