Following today’s news that the Online Safety Bill has passed its final reading in the House of Lords and is set to receive Royal Assent, has been greeted positively by many in the industry already.
PIMFA, the trade association for wealth management, investment services and the investment and financial advice industry, has said that it is delighted the Online Safety Bill has passed through to this stage. David Ostojitsch, Director of Government Relations and Policy at PIMFA, commented: “We are delighted that the Online Safety Bill has passed its final reading in the House of Lords. The legislation establishes a ‘Duty of Care’ on social media websites and search engines, making them more responsible for the content they publish for the first time.
“PIMFA is pleased to have been part of a campaign group that included consumer groups like Which? and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, trade associations such as UK Finance, the Association of British Insurers and the Investment Association and other stakeholders including the City of London Corporation, City of London Police and the Carnegie Institute UK.
“That such organisations came together to campaign for fraud to be included as a priority harm within the Bill is a measure of how passionate we all are about the need to protect the public from such a menace. Fraud is the most widely reported crime in the UK, and most of it now occurs online.
“But PIMFA will continue campaigning to ensure the public is properly protected from fraud. Ofcom must be appropriately resourced to regulate the whole of social media, and it will need help. To ensure that the law is enforced and fraud eradicated in this country, PIMFA has repeatedly called for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to have a role in helping Ofcom manage its new position. We will continue to campaign for the FCA to have such a role and hope that, in time, it will help stop fraudsters from gaining access to potential victims.”
Priti Verma, chief risk officer at Quilter also sees it as a good step forward commenting: “We’ve had an exceptionally long period of time where politicians and organisations have all been saying the same thing – that the Online Safety Bill must include measures that put the onus on the tech companies to take direct action for advertising scams and impersonation scams. It is therefore a good step forward that this Bill is finally going to receive Royal Assent and includes those measures.
“UK Finance reported over £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud in 2022 and consumers across the UK need firm assurance that tech companies are serious about eradicating the threat of online fraud. The fact that, until now, fraudsters were able to sell their fraudulent wares, with virtually no regulatory measures in place to protect consumers, or sanctions on those tech firms, has been a failing for many years.
“The tech sector must now step up, embrace the new measures and help raise awareness of online threats through advertising and media campaigns.”