Essex law experts to help implement landmark Online Safety Act

  • Date

    Fri 10 Nov 23

Generic picture showing logos of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Essex law experts who were instrumental in shaping the landmark Online Safety Act (OSA) will help bring the new laws into reality through their work with the newly formed Online Safety Act Network.

The network aims to build on the work done by Professor Lorna Woods, of Essex Law School, Maeve Walsh and Carnegie UK by coordinating and supporting civil society engagement to secure the effective implementation of the new laws.

UK media regulator Ofcom is due to implement the act in three stages, and published draft codes and guidance on Thursday, outlining the new duties given to tech firms to ensure their online platforms are safer for users.

Professor Woods is leading the network with Maeve Walsh, while Essex colleague and media law expert, Dr Alexandros Antoniou will also be providing support.

The network will aim to provide the following support:

  • Expert interpretation, analysis and thought leadership on forthcoming consultations, secondary legislation and research to aid the Network’s individual or joint responses.
  • Regular opportunities for those with an ongoing interest in the successful implementation of the OSA to connect and collaborate.
  • An easy-to-navigate repository of relevant information and reference material related to the OSA, its development and its current status.
  • A horizon-scanning function to help network members keep track of other legislative and regulatory milestones in the UK and abroad.
  • A regular newsletter, covering all the latest developments on online safety in the UK and elsewhere.

Professor Woods said: “We can have the best laws on the books but it all comes down to implementation and enforcement.

“That's why the network is so important.

“It is a vehicle for sharing information and analysis of Ofcom's implementation plans, and supports a range of civil society actors in getting their voices heard in this process - especially those whose contributions during the legislative process were vital to improving the Act.”

More information is available via the Network’s website.