Government’s Digital Charter sets online standards

Government’s Digital Charter sets online standards [Image: monsitj via iStock]

The government has published a new charter through which it says it will “agree new norms and rules for the online world”.

Prime minister Theresa May set out the details of the government’s Digital Charter at the World Economic Forum in Davos. She said the charter will establish the direction for the UK to become the best country in which to start and grow a digital business, as well as the safest place in the world to be online.

Ms May explained how, through the charter, the UK will go about ensuring that innovative businesses in the tech sector can thrive and that the public will have confidence and trust in the development of new technologies.

The digital charter will follow key principles, including ensuring the internet remains free, open and accessible, that personal data should be respected and used appropriately, and that the rights people have offline should be protected online.

Among the government’s priorities are ensuring data is used in a safe and ethical way, looking at the legal liability that social media companies have for the content shared on their sites, limiting the spread of disinformation and making sure that companies have suitable cyber security.

Secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport minister Matt Hancock said the internet is “a powerful force for good, with the potential to benefit everyone’s lives”. He explained that it underpins revolutionary technologies, which allow new robotics to make difficult medical procedures easier, for example.

He went on to add: “But there are clear challenges and we need to protect people from the potential harms. Our digital charter responds to this challenge and through it we will agree new standards for online behaviour to make sure the UK continues to be an innovation-friendly digital economy and haven for tech investment.”