Keoghs Insight

Author

Natalie Larnder

Natalie Larnder

Head of Market Affairs

T:07890050592

Online Safety Bill: MPs propose new measures on online fraud to protect insurers

Client Alerts15/12/2021

MPs scrutinising the Government’s Draft Online Safety Bill have proposed a series of new measures aimed at tackling online fraud, including protecting insurers from fraudsters.

The Joint Committee, led by Damian Collins MP, was formed earlier this year to scrutinise the Bill in detail due to its wide ranging nature and published its findings this week. The scope of the Bill is broad, covering everything from child safety to stamping down on racial abuse and cracking down on fraud.

The Joint Committee held a public consultation to seek stakeholder views on the Bill to feed into its final report. Keoghs fed into this process through a written submission and a meeting directly with Mr Collins office earlier this year. Our submission was acknowledged in the section on online fraud, with the report noting:

We received evidence on a number of methods of online fraud which were of varying sophistication. For example, we heard from insurance companies that fraudsters can make copies of legitimate insurance providers’ websites and pay for them to appear at the top of search results. Customers can inadvertently enter the copy website and disclose their details to criminals.” [paragraph 187]

We were pleased to see this acknowledgement feed into the Joint Committee’s recommendations on online fraud, which were:

  • Ensuring platform operators are proactive in stopping fraudulent material, with the Bill amended to make this proactivity a legal requirement (as the Bill currently does with child abuse or terrorism offenses)
  • Stating that responsibility for taking action against criminal content remains with the relevant regulators and enforcement bodies

The Government now has two months to respond to the Joint Committee’s recommendations before the publication of the final draft of the Bill and its introduction to the House of Commons for its second reading in the New Year.

We know this is a crucial piece of legislation for many of our clients and we will continue to report on all key developments during its passage.