Lords debates Online Safety Bill at second reading
2 February 2023
Members of the Lords discussed the main principles and purpose of the Online Safety Bill during second reading, on Wednesday 1 February.
The Online Safety Bill seeks to establish a new regulatory regime to address illegal and harmful content online and impose legal requirements on search engine and internet service providers, including those providing pornographic content. The bill will also confer new powers on the Office of Communications (Ofcom), enabling them to act as the online safety regulator.
Debate on the draft law
During second reading, members discussed the main issues in the bill and drew attention to specific areas where they think amendments (changes) will be needed.
Topics covered during the debate included:
- the use of age verification measures
- responsibility of social media platforms to tackle illegal content
- protections for vulnerable adults online
- promotion of harmful content in social media algorithms.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.
More than 60 members of the Lords contributed to the debate, including:
- Lord Allan of Hallam (Liberal Democrat), executive board member of the European Digital Media Observatory
- Baroness Benjamin (Liberal Democrat), broadcaster and vice-president of Barnardos
- Baroness Harding of Winscombe (Conservative), former CEO of TalkTalk Telecom Group
- Lord Inglewood (Non-affiliated), parliamentary co-chair of the Digital Policy Alliance's Digital Infrastructure Group
- Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws (Labour), chair of the Video Games Appeal Board and member of the Microsoft Technology and Human Rights Advisory Council
- Baroness Kidron (Crossbench), former member of the Royal Foundation Taskforce for the Prevention of Cyberbullying and campaigner for protecting children online
- Lord Knight of Weymouth (Labour), member of the joint committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill
- Lord Mitchell (Labour), founder of the eLearning Foundation
- Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Conservative), former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
- Baroness Stowell of Beeston (Conservative), former senior BBC executive and Chair of the Lords Communications and Digital Committee.
Watch and read the debate
Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.
Explore further information
Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library Online Safety Bill briefing.
House of Lords Podcast
Find out more about the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords Podcast. Hear from Baroness Kidron, member of the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee, about regulating tech and social media companies and her work to protect children online.
Draft Online Safety Bill Committee
Prior to its consideration in the House of Lords, the bill was scrutinised by a parliamentary Joint Committee, comprised of members of the Commons and the Lords.
- Read the committee's final report on the bill (PDF)
- Find out more about the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill.
Committee stage, the first chance for line by line examination of the bill, is yet to be scheduled.
Image: ExplorerBob / Pixabay