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by Sofia Villegas
16 May 2024
John Swinney pledges to fight ‘sextortion'

John Swinney was sworn is as First Minister earlier this month | Alamy

John Swinney pledges to fight ‘sextortion'

First Minister John Swinney has said keeping children safe online will be a priority for his government as he paid tribute to the parents of a teenager who took his own life after falling victim to a ‘sextortion’ scam.  

Murray Dowey, 16, died by suicide after he was tricked into sending compromising pictures by criminals posing as a girl online.

Asked about the case at FMQs, Swinney said: “I cannot, as the parent of a teenager, comprehend the scale of loss, the unimaginable suffering that they (Dowey’s parents) are experiencing but I commend their bravery in raising the awareness of the threat of sextortion which has had a terrible impact on their family.

“They have my deepest sympathy for the loss that they have experienced and the commitment from my government to do all that we can to protect young people”.

Swinney said keeping children safe online would be a priority for his government. He said Scottish ministers will meet with Ofcom to discuss the implementation of the Online Safety Act “in the coming weeks” and would continue to “work closely” with national and UK partners, including the Cyber and Fraud Centre Scotland.

His remarks come after the National Crime Agency (NCA) issued a warning to UK schools over the “epidemic” of sextortion cases.

The first minister added Police Scotland are updating sextortion resources on their website following the guidance from the NCA.

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