COMMONS

Evidence session with Government Ministers and call for evidence

12 May 2020

The Home Affairs Committee will take evidence from Government Ministers, Caroline Dinenage and Baroness Williams, on Wednesday 13 May in a session examining online harms. The Committee has also published a call for evidence and invites submissions by Thursday 21 May.

Background

In recent weeks, concerns have been raised that the lockdown period in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has seen an increase in malicious or harmful activity online. This has included fake news and disinformation, notably widespread social media coverage alleging a link between Covid-19 and the 5G cellular network. Fears have also been raised that there has been a rise in online criminality, including child abuse and exploitation, revenge pornography, fraud and scams.

Purpose of the session

The session will examine the Government’s assessment of the prevalence of the range of online harms during the Covid-19 pandemic and investigate what action it plans to take to combat them. The Committee will also examine the Government’s wider strategy on online harms, including proposals for a new statutory duty of care on online companies overseen by an independent regulator.

Witnesses

Wednesday 13 May

At 9.30am

  • Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture
  • Baroness Williams of Trafford, Minister for Countering Extremism

Submit evidence

The Home Affairs Committee invites evidence on:

  • The nature, prevalence and scale of online harms during the Covid-19 period;
  • Steps that could be taken to mitigate these concerns;
  • The adequacy of the Government’s Online Harms proposals to address issues arising from the pandemic, as well as issues previously identified.

Please submit your evidence online here.

The deadline for written evidence is Thursday 21 May.

Further information

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