Bereaved families and coroners will be given powers to access information held by tech companies which could help identify a child’s cause of death in an encouraging concession to the Online Safety Bill (OSB).
It comes following calls in the House Lords by crossbench peer Baroness Kidron to give coroners legal powers to request information from Facebook and other service providers which could be relevant to the death of a child who has used their platform.
Lady Kidron, a filmmaker and advocate for children’s rights online, said: “While parents have been fighting for access to information, those same companies have continued to suggest friends, material and behaviours that drive children into places and spaces in which they are undermined, radicalised into despair, and come to harm.
“In no other circumstance would it be acceptable to withhold relevant information from a court procedure.
“It is both immoral and a failure of justice if coroners cannot access and review all relevant evidence, and for the families it adds pain to heartbreak as they are unable to come to terms with what has happened because there is still so much they do not know.”
Culture minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said the government would “bring forward a package of measures” to address her proposals when the House of Lords enters the final stages of its line-by-line scrutiny of the OSB.
Ian Russell said: “The devil will be in the detail which the government has promised to make available prior to the 6th July report stage, but this feels like a significant step forward.”
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