Tech firms could be forced to hand children’s data to bereaved parents

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An amendment has been proposed to the Online Safety Bill that would give bereaved parents access to data about their child’s social media activity that could shed more light on their death.

Baroness Beebon Kidron said she would introduce amendments to the House of Lords that would require tech firms to supply such data.

It has been concluded after an inquest into the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell found that social media content she viewed contributed to her death “in a greater than minimal way”.

Molly killed herself in November 2017 after viewing material related to depression, self-harm and suicide.

Child online safety campaigner and crossbench peer, Baroness Kidron, said the amendment aimed to save Molly’s family a five-year wait to access the inquiry into her case due to delays in accessing large amounts of data relating to her social media. Accounts and online activity.

Details of the proposed changes have not been finalised, but the Telegraph reports that under the proposed amendments, social media companies could face large fines for failing to provide the data.

Baroness Kidron said, “No family should be denied the opportunity to understand the circumstances surrounding their child’s death.”

“The main objective of the Online Safety Bill should always be to prevent such tragedies. But if there is a tragedy, it is inhumane to force grieving parents to beg for information and wait years for the truth.

“I have repeatedly spoken to government ministers on the issue that this should become a government amendment, but if necessary I will ask the House to put it to a vote.

“No politician of any political persuasion should vote against it. To do so is to add to the pain of already bereaved families and cause more pain to future bereaved families.

Molly Russell’s father Ian supported the amendments, saying: “On many occasions, it would have been easier for us to give up and accept little or no digital evidence at all.

“Instead, with the support of many, we resolved to learn the lessons, improve online safety, and advance the data needed to save lives.

“Having lived through Molly’s extended inquest, we think it is important that in the future, after a child’s death, the authorities’ access to data becomes more straightforward, of course.

“A more compassionate, efficient and faster process is needed to meet the needs of families and officers.”

With the oft-delayed bill expected to return to parliament soon, campaigners have urged the government to end the wait for online safety legislation.

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