The House of Lords has called on the government to put in place a framework to regulate technology companies.
In the House of Lords Communications Committee’s Regulating in a Digital World report, it suggests that a new “Digital Authority” should be established to co-ordinate the current dozen different regulators with a remit to govern what happens online. The report states that this authority should provide the public, the government, and parliament with the latest information, and that it should report to a joint committee formed between both Houses of Parliament.
“The Government should not just be responding to news headlines but looking ahead so that the services that constitute the digital world can be held accountable to an agreed set of principles,” said Lord Gilbert of Panteg, the chairman of the committee.
“Self-regulation by online platforms is clearly failing and the current regulatory framework is out of date. The evidence we heard made a compelling and urgent case for a new approach to regulation. Without intervention, the largest tech companies are likely to gain ever more control of technologies which extract personal data and make decisions affecting people’s lives. Our proposals will ensure that rights are protected online as they are offline while keeping the internet open to innovation and creativity, with a new culture of ethical behaviour embedded in the design of service.”
The report sets out a guideline of 10 principles the government could follow including accountability, transparency, privacy, ethics, and freedom of speech.
The report comes just days after culture secretary Jeremy Wright said the likes of Amazon and Netflix could face regulation in the UK.