In my earlier post (republished here) on the demise of the UK’s current age-verification plans for online porn – and what that might mean for Ireland’s proposed Digital Safety Commissioner, I noted that long-standing Irish Government policy is to establish such a Commissioner, and that the current timetable is that it is intended to bring forward the necessary legislation before the end of the year. Meanwhile, two Private Members Bills, the Digital Safety Commissioner Bill 2017 and the Children’s Digital Protection Bill 2018, are currently before the Oireachtas.
It seems that Government policy in this regard proceeds apace. In his evidence to the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ (hosted in the Seanad Chamber by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment) on Thursday, 7 November 2019, last, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, said:
The regulation of harmful online content … is being pursued by my Department. … The approach we are taking to online safety, for which I am directly responsible, is not dissimilar to that being taken in Australia. We propose to define harmful content, require companies to have a code of practice and put an online safety commissioner in place to oversee the delivery of those codes of practice.