G7 leaders agree online safety principles

Leaders from the G7 have signed a declaration on how to approach online safety, which includes calls for online firms to put processes in place to reduce illegal and harmful activity and prioritise the protection of children.

The government said the declaration, signed ahead of the upcoming G7 summit in June, shared the underlying principles of UK government’s Online Harms Bill.

The G7 is an intergovernmental organisation of the world’s largest economically developed countries: the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US.

The members of the organisation accounted for more than 46 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 58 per cent of the global net wealth as of 2018.

Other measures outlined in the declaration include plans to improve exports by digitising the “cumbersome and centuries-old” paper-based system used in key international trade transactions.

This would involve developing a framework for the use of electronic transferable records and addressing legal barriers and coordinating domestic reforms so companies can use digital solutions for the shipment of goods and trade finance.

The declaration also included measures to capitalise on “the opportunities and benefits of data free flow.”

The government said the G7 will build on the evidence of the impacts of data localisation, promoting regulatory cooperation and accelerating the development of data sharing across a broader set of priority areas.

The government said these priority areas would include transport, science and research, education, and natural disaster mitigation.

International regulators and policymakers are set to meet with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the autumn to discuss long term coordination and enforcement when it comes to addressing the market power of BigTech platforms.

“As a coalition of the world’s leading democracies and technological powers, we want to forge a compelling vision of how tech should support and enhance open and democratic societies in the digital age,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden. “Together we have agreed a number of priorities in areas ranging from internet safety to digital competition to make sure the digital revolution is a democratic one that enhances global prosperity for all.”

Felicity Burch, director of digital at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Over the last year, digital technologies have acted as a bedrock of resilience for economies.”

She added: “This agreement can be a springboard for an inclusive, sustainable recovery and industry is ready to play its part to deliver this shared vision.”

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