15 January 2024

Secretary of State makes Online Safety Act 2023 (Commencement No 2) Regulations 2023

The Online Safety Act (‘OSA’) passed into law in October 2023; we outline a full overview of the Act here.

On 19 December 2023, the Secretary of State made the Online Safety Act 2023 (Commencement No 2) Regulations 2023.

These will bring into force the majority of the OSA’s provisions on 10 January 2024 and 1 April 2024. The provisions that shall be brought into force on 1 April 2024 relate to information requests in connection with an investigation into the death of a child.

These Regulations follow from the first Commencement Regulations, which brought sections 114(2) and 114(7) of OSA into force on 22 November 2023. The provisions specified in section 240(4) of the Act came into force on the day which it was passed.

The new Commencement Regulations will bring into force all provisions of the OSA which have not otherwise been brought into force, barring the following:

  1. section 18 (Duties to protect news publisher content);
  2. section 64 (User identity verification);
  3. section 66 (Requirement to report CSEA content to the NCA);
  4. section 69 (Offence in relation to CSEA reporting);
  5. section 71 (Duty not to act against users except in accordance with terms of service);
  6. section 72(2) to (9) and (12) (Further duties about terms of service);
  7. section 75 (Disclosure of information about use of service by deceased child users);
  8. section 81 (Duties about regulated provider pornographic content);
  9. Part 10 (Communication offences) and Schedule 14 (Amendments consequential on offences in Part 10);
  10. section 160 (OFCOM's report about reporting and complaints procedures);
  11. section 193(2)(b) (OFCOM's guidance about illegal content judgements); and
  12. section 210 (Repeal of Part 4B of the Communications Act).

Also in December, Ofcom published guidance to online services on effective age checks to prevent children from accessing online pornography, as set out in Phase 2 of its roadmap. Ofcom plans for regulated services and other interested stakeholders to read and respond to draft codes of practice relating to protection of children in Spring 2024.

Ofcom plans to move to Phase 3 of its roadmap by early 2024, in which it will issue a call for evidence regarding the approach to the duties of Category 1, 2A and 2B services, as defined by thresholds set out in secondary legislation to be made by Government. We outline in-scope services of the OSA here.

If you would like any further information or have queries on the content of this article, please contact Richard HugoDavid Varney or another member of our Technology team.

This article was written by Victoria McCarron.

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Richard Hugo

Richard Hugo Director

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