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Sinn Féin publishes Digital Safety Commissioner Bill - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

31 August, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

This morning in Leinster House Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice & Equality, and TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire published the Digital Safety Commissioner Bill 2017.

Speaking at the launch, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to launch this Bill here this morning; a Bill which I believe is a significant move towards promoting a positive and safe online culture for all. It builds on the work of Fiona O’Regan, and the Law Reform Commission Report on Digital Safety and Harmful Communications.

“The Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner would be a statutory body. It would be responsible for the promotion of digital safety for all, supporting and implementing measures to improve digital safety, and advising the Government of the day in relation to policies relating to digital safety.

“Crucially, it would be responsible for ensuring digital service providers, such as websites, social media platforms, and apps, and so on, abide by minimum Codes of Practice, and National Digital Safety Standards.

“Central to this would be ‘takedown mechanisms’ to remove harmful communications. This could be appealed to the Commissioner if not removed. Failure to abide by this code of practice, and National Digital Safety Standards, would see a code of compliance for the provider, or platform etc, revoked.

“This is about providing timely, quick and effective remedies, so that people can be confident that the website, or platform they are engaging with, will deal with abusive material, harmful communications, or material posted without consent.

“There are many providers with good mechanisms, however, some do not. Certificates of compliance will ensure that users, and parents can distinguish, and choose.

“Online safety, including online bullying, or posting of harmful materials is one of the biggest child protection issues of this generation, and we are truly delighted that the ISPCC has consequently endorsed this Bill.

“We need a cross Government approach to ensuring it can be dealt it, including actions such as this, additional offences, but also education and promotion of good behaviours.

“We are also very conscious of the tremendous benefits that online platforms can provide, therefore promoting active and positive online citizenship would be a central feature of the work of the Digital Safety Commissioner.

“We are also proposing an Advisory Committee, 50 per cent of which would be drawn from Civil Society, youth and childrens groups, including specific youth members.

"This would ensure that new developments, technologies, trends and platforms, come to the attention of the Commissioner quickly, and that the Office has the ability and scope to evolve, and develop over time, as technology and online behaviours will.

“I believe such a Bill as this would be a very significant step to improving the online experience of all, and giving people more confidence in their safety from abuse and harmful material, and look forward to proposing it in the Dáil.”


Note: ISPCC Press Release endorsing the Bill -

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