Social media bosses could face up to a YEAR in jail for failing to hand over data to bereaved parents – after family of tragic 14-year-old Molly Russell waited FIVE YEARS to access her online accounts in the wake of her suicide
Social media bosses could face up to a year in prison if they fail to hand over data to bereaved parents under the Online Safety Bill.
The amendment is understood to have now got the backing of Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State responsible for the legislation.
Under the proposal, tech giants will be required to hand over all relevant content within ‘a timeframe that is fair to all parties’.
This would include content that the victim had viewed, the algorithms that might have driven harmful material to them, and how they engaged with it.
It was put forward to prevent families suffering the same trauma as the parents of Molly Russell, who were denied access to their daughter’s online accounts for nearly five years.
It was put forward to prevent families suffering the same trauma as the parents of Molly Russell (pictured), who were denied access to their daughter’s online accounts for nearly five years
The 14-year-old schoolgirl was bombarded by depression, self-harm and suicide content online in the months leading up to taking her own life in 2017.
On Sunday, the lawyer who helped the Russell family’s fight for access to the material wrote to Ms Donelan and Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, backing the campaign.
Merry Varney said the social media firms involved had provided only a ‘tiny fraction’ of the material requested despite being asked to do so by the coroner.
The amendment – which was drafted by Baroness Kidron, founder of charity 5Rights – is also backed by four former culture secretaries.
Under it, failure to provide or preserve the content ‘without reasonable excuse’ will be punished with fines of up to 10 per cent of the firms’ global turnover or a maximum one year’s jail sentence.
The Online Safety Bill now comes under the responsibility of the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.
Jim Norton Technology