Online safety takes centre stage at meeting between G7 tech leaders

28 April 2021, 16:14

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden
Oliver Dowden File Photo. Picture: PA

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden hosted the virtual meeting, ahead of the main G7 Summit in June.

Leaders from the G7 have agreed to a series of principles on how to tackle online safety as part of a virtual meeting hosted by the Culture Secretary.

Oliver Dowden and his counterparts in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and EU signed the declaration ahead of the G7 Summit in June.

Ensuring that tech giants should have systems and processes in place to reduce illegal and harmful activity, and making child protection a priority, were among the agreed principles, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Any steps to improve online safety must support the values of open and democratic societies and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, the leaders accepted, marking the first of seven ministerial declarations due to be signed this year.

“As a coalition of the world’s leading democracies and technological powers, we want to forge a compelling vision of how tech should support and enhance open and democratic societies in the digital age,” Mr Dowden said.

“Together we have agreed a number of priorities in areas ranging from internet safety to digital competition to make sure the digital revolution is a democratic one that enhances global prosperity for all.”

As countries grapple with the power of big tech firms, international regulators and policymakers will meet with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the autumn to discuss ways of working together on promoting competition online.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Through sharing our knowledge and identifying areas for mutual collaboration with trusted partners, we will be better able to promote vibrant competition and innovation across digital markets, for the benefit of consumers.”

Elsewhere, the nations have pushed to replace dated paper-based systems with digital tools, to speed up exports and international trade.

The G7 also spoke about security and resilience issues concerning critical digital infrastructure, around matters including 5G.

By Press Association