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November 9, 2023

First Online Safety Act guidance for tech platforms targets grooming

  • Ofcom’s first draft guidance for tech platforms on how to comply with the Online Safety Act has been released.
  • The first draft code of practice published by Ofcom covers activity such as child sexual abuse material (CSAM), grooming and fraud.
  • Some measures include requiring large platforms to change default settings so children aren’t added to suggested friends lists and ensuring children’s location information cannot be revealed in their profile or posts.
  • Ofcom will also require some platforms to use a technology called hash-matching to detect CSAM. However, this does not apply to private or encrypted messages.
  • Other measures include preventing children from receiving messages from people not in their contacts list.
  • The online regulator wants to hear what tech platforms think of its plans.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Teenage girl ’facilitated’ and filmed gang attack shared on Snapchat

  • A teenage girl “facilitated” and filmed a gang attack on a young person in Dublin, which was shared on Snapchat.
  • The troubled young person later attacked a woman who was helping another girl on the side of the road.
  • The defendant pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to two counts of assault causing harm to the victims during the incidents in February and May last year when she was aged 17.
  • The court heard how the young girl became involved in daily substance abuse and had suffered personal trauma.
  • She engaged with the Probation Service, a drug addiction treatment programme and a bail supervision scheme, all of whom praised her efforts.
  • The defendant is due to be sentenced next year and will consider leaving the girl without a criminal record if the defendant continues to stay out of trouble.
  • For more, please visit the Breaking News Ireland website.

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LGBT+ young people don’t feel welcome in rural Scotland, study shows

  • A 15-year-long Life in Scotland study created by LGBT Youth Scotland surveyed 1,300 people and is the largest piece of research of its kind.
  • Findings showed that 37% of LGBT+ youth in rural areas felt there were safe spaces for socialising and expressing their identities.
  • The report has called on the Scottish Government and local authorities to invest in LGBTQ+ awareness and education programmes to help improve inclusivity.
  • Dr Mhairi Crawford, LGBT Youth Scotland’s chief executive reported: “Inclusive services, workplaces, and education, supported by programs like the LGBT Charter, are essential for LGBTQ+ young people to feel safe and welcomed in their communities.”
  • She continued: “If Scotland is to become a place where personal young people can thrive, it is imperative that decision-makers and service providers really listen to the insights of LGBTQ+ young people in rural areas and engage in collaborative efforts with local communities to craft effective solutions.”
  • The rural report will be released this Friday in Inverness.
  • For more, please visit The National Scot website.

Too many children not being protected or heard by Thames Valley Police, report finds

  • The force was visited by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) between 15-26 May.
  • Inspectors found that in too many cases, children “weren’t being seen, their voices weren’t heard and they weren’t being appropriately protected by the force”.
  • In 70 child protection cases assessed, they found 19 were rated good, 16 require improvement and 35 were inadequate.
  • His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wilsher reported that while they found some areas of “effective practice, we also saw inconsistent practices and decision-making”.
  • Deputy Chief Constable Ben Snuggs of Thames Valley Police stated that since the inspection, they have “taken significant steps to address the concerns and recommendations highlighted in the report and we are fully committed to making the further necessary changes to address the areas for improvement diligently and expeditiously.”
  • For more, please visit the ITV News website.