Regulating in a digital world Contents

Appendix 4: Existing regulators

This appendix lists of statutory and non-statutory bodies which have remits for online regulation. Of these bodies only the Internet Watch Foundation is exclusively concerned with the internet. The list is not exhaustive.

Advertising Standards Authority: remit includes advertisements on the internet, smartphone and tables, claims on companies’ websites and commercial emails. It also regulates Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA). Regulation requires businesses to make clear when they are collecting and using information for OBA and to provide a tool so that individuals can choose not to receive it.

British Board of Film Classification (BBFC): provides the classification framework for mobile operators to restrict access to their commercial content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18. The BBFC is the designated regulator for the age verification of online pornography under Digital Economy Act 2017.

Competition and Markets Authority: responsible for strengthening business competition, and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities, including by UK businesses which are active in the online economy. It investigates mergers and conducts market studies, including on internet-based businesses.

Direct Marketing Commission (DMC): an independent watchdog for the members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), a trade organisation which promotes direct marketing, including direct digital marketing. The DMC investigates and adjudicates reported breaches of the DMA’s code. It aims to safeguard consumers’ right to be contacted in the way they wish.

Financial Conduct Authority: regulates financial firms which provide services to consumers, including in the online economy. This includes reviewing financial firms’ use of customer data, monitoring unauthorised internet banks, regulating firms which operate loan-based crowdfunding platforms and regulating the use of cryptocurrencies.

Gambling Commission: regulates online gambling activity by monitoring compliance with legislation, licence conditions and codes of practice. This includes ensuring internet gambling websites and apps meet existing regulatory requirements, including the right of consumers to access information on their gambling activity and net deposits, and to set financial limits on their accounts.

IMPRESS: is an independent regulator for press publications, including online editions. It was the first to be recognised by the Press Recognition Panel and is fully compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry.

Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO): regulates the majority of UK local, regional and national publications. IPSO can investigate complaints that a publication has breached the Editors’ Code and may ensure publications uphold factual standards. The organisation has launched a symbol to be used by publications regulated by the body to combat ‘fake news’.

Information Commissioner’s Office: enforces and oversees the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

Internet Watch Foundation: remit is to remove child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world and non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.

Ofcom: regulates online services platforms, including BBC iPlayer and other catch-up services in line with its principles for broadcast media. It also regulates subscription services, although with more limited standards than live TV and catch-up services.

Phone-paid Services Authority: the regulator for content, goods and services charged to phone bills. This includes internet-based apps and services such as music subscriptions, in-app purchases, gaming and adult services.

Prudential Regulation Authority: responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms. This includes online activities undertaken by these firms.

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