Police Scotland have been considering rolling out technology known as cyber kiosks. These ‘kiosks’ can access mobile phone text messages, encrypted conversations on apps, passwords, geo-locations, contacts, photos, web browsing history and call records in seconds. They can download every piece of data held on a mobile phone without the owner’s knowledge.
Privacy campaigners and human rights experts have questioned the legality of this technology and the impact upon individuals’ rights to privacy. Open Rights Group Scotland, in their submission to Parliament about the kiosks, highlight that mobile phones carry an immense amount of data about someone’s life and that, ‘It is of the utmost importance that Police Scotland’s framework reflect the nature of the interference, giving due regard to the insights devices provide, and giving the public and others clarity as to their rights, the limits of police powers and the safeguards that come with it.’
Police Scotland has stated that no roll-put of the kiosks would take place until their legal authority is clarified, as Chief Constable Livingstone highlighted at the Policing Sub-Committee in January. You can read details of that evidence here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11928
Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said:
“The Commission has previously given the Scottish Parliament its view that there is a lack of clarity about the precise legal basis for the use of this technology, as well as an absence of sufficient oversight safeguards.
As mobile phone browsing can be highly intrusive of the right to privacy, home and correspondence it is essential the necessary safeguards are in place to regulate its use.
We therefore welcome Police Scotland’s decision not to proceed with rolling out cyber kiosks at this point in time.”
You can read Open Rights Group submission around this issue here: https://scotland.openrightsgroup.org/policy/2018/11/20/cyber-kiosks-open-rights-group-submission-to-justice-sub-committee-on-policing/
You can read about the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/policing-sub-committee.aspx
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