LONDON — Social media companies should hand over vital evidence from prime suspects’ accounts to detectives “within minutes,” the commissioner of Britain’s biggest police force said on Tuesday.
Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, spoke out on Tuesday after the mother of a murdered schoolgirl on Monday condemned Facebook over its failure to hand over the account password of a prime suspect.
Stacey White, whose daughter Lucy McHugh’s body was found in the woodlands in Southhampton in July, accused the company of denying her justice after police were forced to apply to U.S. judges to demand the information was handed over.
Dick said in an phone-in show on the radio station LBC: “I absolutely think that in certain instances — and it sounds to me like this is one — law enforcement in the U.K. ought to be able to have vital evidence which might bring somebody to justice.”
Asked if they should have access “within minutes,” she said: “Yeah, absolutely,” adding: “There are both practical things for them and legal things for them which I do respect, it is not as straightforward as it sounds.”
The European Commission has put forward a draft law to make it easier for Europe’s police to access to data held by tech companies, while the the U.K. is in talks with the U.S. to negotiate an agreement to give government agencies fast-track access to people’s online data stored in the other country within the CLOUD Act.