What are the key aspects of the Online Safety Act?

The Online Safety Act, No. 9 of 2024, as outlined in the provided context, includes several key aspects:

  • Establishment of the Online Safety Commission:
    • A Commission called the Online Safety Commission will be established, which will be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and being sued.
    • The Commission will have various powers and functions, including issuing directives, notices, and obtaining police assistance for investigations.
  • Application of the Act:
    • The Act applies to offences committed against citizens of Sri Lanka, causing loss, damage, or harm within or outside Sri Lanka, or by a citizen of Sri Lanka, regardless of where the offence is committed.
  • Objectives of the Act:
    • To protect individuals from harm caused by the communication of prohibited statements online.
    • To safeguard against misuse of online accounts and bots.
    • To prevent the financing and support of online locations that communicate prohibited statements.
  • Powers and Functions of the Commission:
    • The Commission can issue directives and notices to individuals and internet service providers related to prohibited statements.
    • It has the authority to acquire and dispose of property, enter into contracts, appoint and dismiss staff, and generally perform acts necessary for its function.
  • Offences and Penalties:
    • The Act specifies offences related to the communication of prohibited statements online, including those that harm children, and outlines the corresponding punishments.
    • It includes provisions for aiding and abetting such offences.
  • Disclosure of Identity Information:
    • The Act allows for the disclosure of identity information of individuals who communicate prohibited statements online, subject to a court order.

These aspects are designed to provide a framework for online safety and to address the misuse of online platforms in Sri Lanka. The Act emphasizes the protection of citizens from harmful online content and the accountability of those who misuse online services.

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