Insights Global Online Safety Regulators Network commits to regulatory coordination

The Global Online Safety Regulators Network has published a position statement setting out a shared commitment to regulatory coherence and coordination. The Network comprises a series of regulators with a remit to oversee online safety – including Ofcom – as well as a number of ‘observer’ organisations that work on matters of online safety and collaborate with independent online safety regulators.

The position statement stresses that coherence is essential if regulators, each with their own domestic regulatory framework, are to avoid ‘cross-border regulatory fragmentation’ and are to ensure that the online safety of internet users in their respective countries does not “stop at the border”. It also means that the regulators learn from each other, and have greater collective influence over a global industry with significant scale, power and resources.

One way of achieving regulatory coherence is to find areas of “commonality amid global diversity”. The statement recognises that whilst there is a diverse range of regulators, each with different remits and functions, many share similar intended outcomes, regulatory tools, metrics, and regulatory approaches.

Included in the statement is a table setting out the various differences and similarities in the regulatory remits of the Network members, which has been used to identify “opportunities in multiple areas to pursue coherence between respective regimes”. For example, the Network will work to develop common metrics for risk assessments and transparency reporting. It will also identify and compare trends in the nature and prevalence of online harms across regions as well as in compliance practices. In order to reduce the compliance burden for platforms, the Network also commits to “explore opportunities to coordinate in relation to the types of questions we ask of industry as part of our regulatory activities”. Finally, the Network will identify a common set of reasonable steps that services can take to address specific harms and risk factors.

Looking ahead, the position statement outlines that the Network will consider working more closely on investigation and enforcement action in the future, and in the meantime will continue to work closely with the “broader online safety community globally to elevate best practices and lessons across regions and contexts, and support the efforts of other institutions and initiatives that seek to advance global regulatory coherence”.

To read the statement in full, click here.