Delyn MP David Hanson has welcomed the decision to update the law on assisting suicide. It is to be simplified to increase public understanding and reassure people that it applies as much on the internet as it does off-line.
Following a review of the Suicide Act 1961, the government has decided to reframe it in new, modern language that will make it easier for individual internet users and internet-based businesses, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to understand.
UK ISPs already take down any websites under their control when notified that they contain illegal material and are free to restrict access to harmful or tasteless material in accordance with their ‘acceptable use’ policies. Simplifying the law should help them in doing this.
The Law Commission has also proposed that the language of section 2 should be updated.
Later this year, the government will work with the UK Council on Child Internet Safety to consider the practicalities of restricting access to websites that are not in accordance with UK law and how enforcement mechanisms can and should be applied to online activity.
David Hanson said:
“Protecting young and vulnerable people online must be a priority. There is no magic solution to protect people online but simplifying the language of the Act will help to reassure people that the Internet is not a lawless environment.
“Earlier this year Dr Tanya Byron’s review identified websites promoting suicide as an area where there is some confusion about the application of the law to online activity.
“The decision to simplify the language shows that the Government is committed to delivering the reports recommendations.
“I will be working with Government to ensure that it continues to empower parents and protect children and the vulnerable when they go online.”