Parliamentary committee calls for new online epilepsy safety law
A parliamentary committee has recommended that a new law should be introduced to protect people with photosensitive epilepsy online. This would make it an offence to send flashing images to someone with the intent of causing a seizure.
Young Epilepsy is one of several epilepsy charities which has been targeted on Twitter with flashing images in an attempt to induce seizures. Individuals have also been targeted on social media. Seizures can result in significant harm to people with epilepsy. Whilst only 3% of the epilepsy population experience photosensitive seizures, these malicious online posts are also likely to have caused distress to the wider epilepsy community.
As part of its review of communications offences, the Law Commission recommended in July that a new offence be introduced to address these malicious attacks against people with epilepsy. A parliamentary committee has echoed this recommendation and urged the Government to include the new law in the Online Safety Bill which is due to be approved in 2022.
Young Epilepsy shared the charity’s experiences with the Law Commission as well as the Joint Committee for the draft Online Safety Bill. We hope that the new law will be successfully approved next year.