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Online Crime: Company Responsibility

Volume 653: debated on Monday 21 January 2019

Tackling serious crime online is one of our highest priorities. We are increasing our investment in law enforcement and will set out plans to legislate in the online harms White Paper, jointly led by the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It will set clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe online, including protection from serious online crime.

Technology is at the root of a great deal of serious crime in the United Kingdom. I know that the Minister understands that and will want to work with tech firms to fight against crime committed online. However, does he rule out the suggestion made by some people, including Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web, that if significant change is not forthcoming from the tech firms, we should regulate them?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is ultimately right in the sense that, yes, if communications service providers fail to respond to abuse of the internet, they will need to see an increase in existing regulation. We are considering a full range of possible solutions to address the issue, including a regulatory framework as well as broader legal and regulatory changes, where necessary.