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It's time that Facebook is held accountable in court, says lawyer Emma Sadleir

25 July 2020 2:16 PM
Tags:
Facebook
Instagram
Facebook Inc
Court
Emma Sadleir
The Digital Law Company

Emma Sadleir is part of legal team that's taking Facebook Inc to court on Tuesday, in what has been described as a landmark case.

Sadleir is representing a 13-year-old South African girl in her legal quest to have Facebook disclose the identifying information linked to an anonymous Instagram account that sent her rape and death threats.

It's been an uphill battle for the teen's legal team in their bid to have US-owned Facebook Inc disclose the identity of the perpetrator.

"Facebook is protecting the abusers of the platform and not the users", Sadleir tells CapeTalk host John Maytham.

RELATED: SA teen takes Facebook to court over anonymous gang rape and murder threats

The digital law guru says it's time that Facebook is held accountable for its failure to protect the victims of cyber harassment on its platforms.

On Tuesday 28 July, Sadlier and others will approach the High Court seeking a court order to compel Facebook Inc to hand over the information.

If they are successful, the case could set a legal precedent for other victims of online abuse, she explains.

I can only hope that this helps future victims.

Emma Sadleir, Founder - Digital Law Company

Facebook has to strike a balance between its duty to protect the privacy of its users and its duty to protect victims of online abuse, the expert says.

The tech giant needs to act much quicker when dealing with cases where there is a blatant abuse of the platform, she stresses.

Such instances include child pornography, revenge porn, racism, homophobia, death threats, crimen injuria, and intimidation, Sadleir says.

She explains that many other victims are unable to seek justice because of the prohibitive legal costs, administrative hurdles, and failures within South Africa's criminal justice system.

"The truth is, we're ill-equipped from a law enforcement point of view", Sadleir laments.

The extent to which a victim has to spend huge amounts of money, huge efforts, international legal teams, to get that court order is a threshold far too high.

Emma Sadleir, Founder - Digital Law Company

As far as I'm concerned, the privacy right of a criminal are far less important than the right of a child.

Emma Sadleir, Founder - Digital Law Company

We are creating an alternative route... to circumnavigate a police force that just doesn't function correctly in this [digital] space.

Emma Sadleir, Founder - Digital Law Company

Facebook's policy is that they will give over the information if they are served a valid legal process.

Emma Sadleir, Founder - Digital Law Company

They said that they required a subpoena... which forces us to go the criminal route... so we're obtaining a court order in the civil courts which will be served on them.

Emma Sadleir, Founder - Digital Law Company

Listen to the discussion for more detail:


25 July 2020 2:16 PM
Tags:
Facebook
Instagram
Facebook Inc
Court
Emma Sadleir
The Digital Law Company

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