A new statutory instrument has been issued in the light of planned implementation of new offences concerning racial and religious hatred.
The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 creates a number of new offences (in a new Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986) relating to the stirring up of religious hatred. By virtue of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2007 (SI 2007 No. 2490), the provisions of the Act come into force on 1 October 2007. On the same date, the Electronic Commerce Directive (Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007 No. 2497) come into force.
Regulations 3 and 4 ensure that offences under Part 3A of the 1986 Act apply on a country of origin basis. Regulation 3 extends the application of the offences under Part 3A of the 1986 Act so that these offences apply to suppliers of information society services (ISS providers) established in England and Wales not only where they provide ISS in England and Wales, but also where they provide information society services in EEA states other than the UK. Regulation 4 means that service providers who are established in an EEA state other than the UK can only be prosecuted for an offence under Part 3A of the 1986 Act where the conditions laid down in Article 3(4) of the Directive are satisfied.
Regulations 5, 6 and 7 create exceptions from liability for the offences under Part 3A of the 1986 Act for intermediary ISS providers when they provide mere conduit, caching or hosting services in the circumstances specified by Articles 12, 13 and 14 of the Directive.