Big Brother Watch released a new report, ‘Digital Strip Searches: the police’s data investigations of victims’.
Our report states the police’s digital searches are “highly likely to infringe victims’ data protection and privacy rights” and are “causing major delays to investigations”. The report includes contributions from survivors and lawyers, and evidence from frontline workers, police, and police representatives. We call for urgent reform.
Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said:
“These digital strip searches are a gross invasion of victims’ privacy and an obstruction of justice. Our phones contain emails, social media accounts, app data, photos, browsing history and so much more. These phone downloads can even exceed the information gathered from a police property raid.
“Understandably, many victims are refusing to be violated in this way. But no victim should have to make a choice between their privacy and justice.
“The digital interrogation policy doesn’t allow victims to give police relevant pieces of evidence without feeling like their private lives will be put on trial. This disproportionate approach bears none of the basic qualities required by data protection or human rights law, and it’s staggering that the policy is yet to be revoked. Police chiefs must urgently retract the policy and devise a more competent, proportionate and lawful approach.”
Our campaign: Victims Not Suspects
The Guardian – Police demands for access to rape victims’ phones ‘unlawful’
The Times – Rape victims face ‘digital strip searches’
The Daily Telegraph – Information watchdog has ‘serious concerns’ over digital police ‘strip searches’