UK Police Can Download Data From Your Phone Without A Warrant

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Police in the UK are able to download data from your phone without a warrant.

At least 26 forces in England and Wales have started using new technology which means they are able to download data from phones in minutes – including deleted photos, location data, messages and emails. It can be used on suspects, witness and victims.

Privacy International, a campaign group, told the BBC police should be stopped having access to such information without a warrant.

However, a former chief constable told the news outlet that having to go through the process of obtaining a warrant every single time is 'just not practical'.

Speaking to The Victoria Derbyshire Show the group said it had used freedom of information requests to find out how many forces used the new rules, which it says were introduced without a public debate about its 'rapid rollout' – meaning that most people are unaware of their rights.

Privacy International now wants an immediate review of the situation and for a public-awareness campaign to be launched.

Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC

The decision to download any date is decided on a case-by-case basis, according to the National Police Chiefs Council.

Millie Graham-Wood, a solicitor for Privacy International, said: "The most worrying thing is that this can happen on arrest, even when charges are never even brought."

Of the 47 UK police forces asked, only eight said they had their own guidance about how this technology should be used. Derbyshire and Wiltshire polices' guidance even allowed the data to be extracted without the suspect's knowledge.

Former chief constable Sir Peter Fahy told the BBC: "In lots of cases, officers need to be able to access what is on a mobile phone very, very quickly and to be able to know whether they can arrest the offender to protect the public and to stop other crimes in action."

Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC

A Home Office spokesman said: "Current legislation allows data to be accessed when there are reasonable grounds to believe it contains evidence in relation to an offence and only then in adherence with data protection and human rights obligations.

"The government is clear that the use of all police powers must be necessary, proportionate and lawful."

Source: BBC

Featured Image Credit: BBC