Online Safety Act Network

Manifesto watch: the headlines


With the UK General Election just three weeks away, the three main parties have now published their manifestos and we’ve produced a comparison table on how their pledges on online safety and wider policy and regulatory initiatives stack up.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are promising further measures to build on the Online Safety Act but neither have gone down the route of promising bans on smartphone use by children; the Conservatives have, however, promised to put their guidance on banning mobile phones in schools on a statutory footing and to provide funding to schools to implement it and will consult on further measures to protect children online. Labour have committed to bringing back the provision to allow coroners to access information held by tech companies after a child’s death - which had been included in the now-scrapped Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. The Liberal Democrats propose setting up a new independent advocacy body for children and a new Online Crime Agency to “tackle illegal content and activity online, such as personal fraud, revenge porn and threats and incitement to violence on social media”.

On violence against women and girls, both Labour and the Conservatives are promising to introduce a ban on the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes - measures that would have been included in the Criminal Justice Bill, had that not fallen once the election was called - while the Lib Dems will put a requirement on social media companies to report on their activities to address online abuse of women and girls, as well as others with protected characteristics.

Labour promise a series of new offences (extremism, fraud, sale of weapons) that have an online dimension while the Liberal Democrats are promising a Digital Bill of Rights. Labour and the Lib Dems also promise Artificial Intelligence regulation, along with a number of other related measures; notably, the Conservatives only offer investment in innovation and research into AI with no regulation.

The full table is available as a PDF below.

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