Police in England and Wales are taking ‘excessive’ amounts of personal data from smartphones during investigations, the UK’s data watchdog has warned.
THE latest report on police mobile phone data extraction (MPE) calls for a ‘statutory code of practice’ for police.
An investigation into MPE in Scotland and Northern Ireland is still under way.
Nowadays in a lot of cases the police ask for data from a witness or victim’s smartphone, not just the suspects’ devices.
Taking all the data from the smartphone, not just relevant data pertaining to the crime seems to be an excessive use of power, and an invasion of privacy.
The group submitted Freedom of Information requests to 22 police forces in England and Wales.
The report found officers had asked for the complainant’s mobile phone data in 84 sexual assault cases, and every one of the 14 of those in which the complainant had declined had then been dropped by police.
“People who report sexual offences want to provide the relevant evidence but are routinely told they have to be subject to a full phone extraction, giving up social-media accounts and often more data,” the report said.