UK Enacts Groundbreaking Online Safety Bill Extending to the Metaverse
The Online Safety Bill, an extensive piece of legislation focused on safeguarding internet use, was successfully passed by UK lawmakers on Tuesday. This bill, originally introduced in March, places a mandate on companies to assess the likelihood of users encountering inappropriate content and to gauge potential harm to minors. These companies are further obligated to establish measures aimed at reducing these risks, thereby striking a balance between online freedom and safety, as outlined in an official government communique.
In light of the rapid expansion of the metaverse, an interconnected realm of virtual worlds, and the considerable impact of Meta's rebranding from Facebook, UK policymakers saw it as crucial for the Online Safety Bill to encompass these digital spaces.
Lord Stephen Parkinson, a member of the Parliament's upper house and a minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, underscored during a debate in July that the bill was deliberately crafted to remain adaptable to evolving technologies, ensuring its ongoing relevance in the face of emerging trends.
The bill now awaits approval from King Charles and is set to take immediate effect, unless a later implementation date is specified.
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