PM Unveils Plans For Widespread Reforms Of Cyberworld

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A "right to innocence" protection to stop teenagers being dogged by their youthful indiscretions on social media will be introduced by a Tory government, Theresa May has announced.

Under widespread reforms to curb the dangers of the cyberworld, the Prime Minster said sites like Facebook would be forced to wipe the records of users before they turned 18 on request.

Web giants will also be warned they face penalties if they fail to do more to stop children accessing harmful content.

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- NSPCC (@NSPCC) May 10, 2017 Mrs May said the internet had brought "significant new risks" as well as a wealth of opportunities.

It comes as the NHS was left reeling from a massive cyber attack that hit some hospitals, GP surgeries and commissioning groups.

Mrs May said: "Unlike a coalition of chaos and instability led by Jeremy Corbyn, a Conservative government led by me will get on with the job of making life in the United Kingdom even better.

"That means we are prepared to face up to the big long-term challenges facing this country. The internet has brought a wealth of opportunity, but also significant new risks which have evolved faster than society's response to them.

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- NSPCC (@NSPCC) May 8, 2017 "We want social media companies to do more to help redress the balance and will take action to make sure they do.

"These measures will help make Britain the best place in the world to start and run a digital business, and the safest place in the world for people to be online."

Under the plans, social media firms will have to take action to stop search terms directing users to inappropriate sites.

It is hoped the move will stop children accidentally stumbling on porn, with some adult channels featuring x-rated videos that have titles which play on the names of well-known films and characters.

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- NHS Million (@NHSMillion) May 12, 2017 The measure would also include hate speech and other sites that could be harmful to youngsters. Age restrictions on apps to stop young children accessing damaging content will also be expanded.

Firms will be told to introduce a "comply or explain" system that means they take down content that has been complained about or explain the reason behind why they have not.

The plans also include widespread changes to make business in the cyberworld simpler. They include reforms to allow a digital signature to be accepted on more official forms.

The Prime Minster said sites like Facebook would be forced to wipe the records of users before they turned 18 on request (PA)

It would mean accountants, estate agents and other companies could be dealt with by email instead of clients having to physically sign a hard copy.

The plans would also include better data protections for social media users.

A sanctions regime will back up the reforms with regulators given the ability to fine or prosecute companies who fail to meet their legal duties.