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Online harm legislation
If firms fail to meet the duty of care, the regulator will have a range of sanctions at their disposal. This may include the power to impose civil fines (tied to metrics such as annual turnover or the volume of illegal material hosted), the power to require firms to rectify failings and possibly even powers to disrupt non-compliant platforms (including the potential for the regulator to require ISPs to block non-compliant websites). The proposal suggests that the regulator will use their powers in a tiered manner, only resorting to the most disruptive powers as a last resort.
The regime will likely include some kind of appeals mechanism against enforcement decisions, but its form is still being considered. Whether the regulator will accept "super-complaints" from certain designated bodies remains an open question, as does the issue of whether firms situated outside the UK will be required to appoint a "nominated representative" in the UK to assist in enforcing compliance with the regime.
One of the most controversial proposals in the Online Harms White Paper was the suggestion that firms may be required to nominate a senior executive with accountability for complying with the duty of care. Like the Senior Managers Regime in financial services, if the nominated executive did not take reasonable steps to ensure their firm complied with this duty, they could be personally liable for a civil fine (or possibly even criminal liability). Again, whether this proposal will be introduced remains an open question.