Bereaved parents express anger over unfulfilled online safety promise


Parents who have lost children in incidents related to social media and gaming are accusing the UK government of weakening online safety laws. They claim that Science Secretary Michelle Donelan is retracting a personal commitment, which they consider callous. In response, Donelan stated that she takes her commitments seriously but believes that the changes requested by the parents are already covered by existing laws. The government had previously announced plans to grant coroners new powers to access information from tech companies in cases where there is a reasonable suspicion that the online world is relevant to a child’s death. However, under the proposed Data Bill, this provision would only apply to children who have died by suicide and not to other cases involving social media. The parents argue that this amendment is a betrayal and that they should have access to information about their children’s online interactions. The Data Bill will be debated in the House of Lords next week, with campaigners pressuring the government to reconsider. Labour has accused the government of breaking the trust of bereaved parents and pledged to oppose any watering down of online safety commitments. TechUK, representing technology companies, supports access to data for investigations but wants to ensure that the law allows for this appropriately.

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