IGF 2022 WS #369 Harmonising online safety regulation

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (07:45 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (08:45 UTC)
Banquet Hall A

Organizer 1: Government, Western European and Others Group 
Organizer 2: Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Celene Craig, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group 
Speaker 2: Julie Inman Grant, Government, Asia-Pacific Group 
Speaker 3: Tajeshwari Devi, Government, Asia-Pacific Group 
Speaker 4: Kevin Bakhurst, Government, Western European and Others Group 


Other - 60 Min: the session fits the 'Open Forum' criteria. It will be an interactive session organised by statutory regulatory agencies dealing with online safety issues. The Open Forum Forum will focus on the co-ordinated activities of this group and will allow sufficient ‎time for questions and discussions with diverse stakeholders.

Policy Question(s)

Key themes of discussion will include: How can we ensure regulatory regimes are interoperable? How do we work together to protect human rights online? What can we do to prevent the splinternet?

Connection with previous Messages: Economic, social inclusion and human rights • Agile regulatory frameworks – at the national, regional and, where possible, global levels – need to be put in place to outline rules, responsibilities and boundaries for how public and private actors behave in the digital space. Trust, security, stability • Governments need to harmonise legislation to protect victims of non- consensual intimate image abuse, and ensure easy access to redress. Network and platform policies need to accommodate a spectrum of global cultures. Peer support networks for girls who are victims of online gender-based violence, such as Safer Internet Centers, must be strengthened, while digital literacy should be improved through school curricula and start from a young age, before they venture online.



Targets: 5.b - Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women 5.2 - Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere Online safety regulation has direct intersections with all chosen SGDs, while protection of human rights online supports the delivery of all SDGs. In addition, we are working to make online experiences safer for children, supporting the UN Convention on the rights of the child and its general comment No. 25 to address children’s rights in the digital environment.


The global regulatory landscape for online safety is rapidly evolving. Australia passed legislation to establish an online safety regulator in 2015, and Fiji followed suit in 2018. The European Union is seeking to set global standards with the enactment of the Digital Services Act, and the UK has aspirations to be the safest place to be online, via its Online Safety Bill.

As technology evolves and possibly moves towards decentralisation, increased international collaboration will be essential to not only counter the harms we see manifesting today but to ensure the tech industry does not repeat the same mistakes when building the Web 3.0 and the metaverse, that were made in building the internet of today.

Hear from the first movers in online safety regulation: Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Fiji’s Online Safety Commission, and Ofcom in the UK. In addition, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) will outline Ireland’s future move into online safety regulation in Europe.

In this session, these four regulators will come together to discuss the way forward for online safety regulation around the world. Pending global regulatory developments, other new regulatory bodies may be invited to join the discussion.

Organised in collaboration with: eSafety Commissioner (Australia), Online Safety Commission (Fiji), Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Ofcom (UK).

Expected Outcomes

Expected outcomes include: - Global dialogue and greater collaboration for rights-based regulation of tech industry - Awareness of common online safety issues and consistency across regulatory approaches providing clear expectations for industry and individuals - Greater cooperation across jurisdictions on online safety

Hybrid Format: The first component will be a discussion delivered in a hybrid format, with some participants joining via a live stream, and some in the room. There will be an onsite moderator and a virtual moderator, who will collate discussion questions, and will work together to facilitate interactions. This is still TBC.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.


Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Legislators around the world are increasingly engaging with online safety questions, and implementing novel regulatory regimes aimed at enhancing online safety and addressing various online safety risks. In this context, more and more independent online safety regulators are emerging, whose job it is to implement and enforce novel online safety regulations.

To ensure people are protected online and to ensure that regulation is effective and consistent across boarders, international collaboration amongst regulators is essential. While substantive rules may differ across the world, there is significant scope for alignment around regulatory toolboxes and for the sharing of best-practices and expertise. The new Global Online Safety Regulators Network will serve as a crucial vehicle for collaboration.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Digital technologies are at once both global and local, and as a result international regulatory collaboration has always been essential to keep people safe online. With the global regulatory landscape for online safety rapidly evolving and more and more countries devising and implementing novel regulatory approaches to improve online safety, international collaboration will become even more important.

In this session which took place on Day Two of IGF, four regulators who are at the forefront of the new drive for online safety came together to discuss the latest online safety regulatory trends, how greater international regulatory cooperation can improve outcomes for everyone, and the role that initiatives like the new Global Online Safety Regulators Network can play. 

The panel featured senior representatives from the eSafety Commissioner (Australia); the Online Safety Commission (Fiji); the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (Ireland); and Ofcom (United Kingdom). It was moderated by Matthew Nguyen, Digital Governance Lead at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

During the discussion panellists shared updates on how their respective jurisdictions are approaching contemporary online safety policy issues. The major theme was international cooperation, and extensive discussion was devoted to how regulators need to work together to enhance enforcement capabilities and ensure they are benefiting from best practice globally. The panel also discussed the Global Online Safety Regulators Network, that was recently launched by the four regulators and which aims to be a vehicle for greater regulatory alignment and cooperation amongst online safety regulators across the world.

Stakeholders, both in the room and online, were engaged throughout the discussion. Participants expressed support for greater coordination amongst regulators and many were especially interested in understanding the Network’s plans to invite additional regulators to join in the coming year. Stakeholders also opined on the relationship between government and independent regulators, and the panellists noted that regulatory independence was a key principle of the new global network.

Conversations in the room continued well after the end of the panel discussion, with stakeholders highlighting the challenges from regulatory fragmentation and the importance of involving civil society and broader internet governance stakeholders in regulators’ work.

The four regulators were grateful for the opportunity to present and discuss their work with a diverse range of stakeholders at the IGF.