Facebook has been accused of hindering a police investigation for not giving up the password for the account of a suspected killer whose messages they want to review for evidence.
Lucy McHugh, 13, went missing on July 25. She was found dead, stabbed to death, in the woods in Southampton, England, a day later, according to The Sun. Her suspected killer is Stephen-Alan Nicholson, 24. He was questioned over McHugh’s murder as well as sexual activity with a child.
With Facebook’s multiple refusals to give up Nicholson’s password, some of the British public has called for a law to force websites to disclose suspects’ passwords. In this case, the police wish to see if Nicholson had talked to McHugh using Facebook’s Messenger app.
“I think it’s outrageous. The attitude of Facebook is going to require a response which will be a change in the law. They will be obliged on the service of a court order to hand over information,” an ex British police chief, John O’Connor, said Wednesday, The Sun reported.
“There should be a massive fine if they don’t comply. The fact they don’t assist police in serious investigations is reprehensible. Facebook is such an integral part of people’s life so they should offer the cooperation voluntarily.”
“We’re not able to comment on a live criminal case,” Facebook told The Sun.
Facebook has a history of prioritizing protecting users’ passwords and accounts from the law. In a similar case, a German judge ruled Facebook had to give a family access to their deceased daughter’s account after the social media company refused. The daughter was killed after being struck by a train in 2012, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported. (RELATED: Facebook Deletes Hundreds Of ‘Hate Speech’ Posts In Germany)
Regarding that decision, a Facebook spokesman told Reuters it “respectfully disagree[s] … the lengthy process shows how complex the issue under discussion is.”
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