The Guardian — “Rape victims are being systematically denied justice if they defend their data rights”

Big Brother Watch Team / June 18, 2020

A new ICO report today confirms our long-held view: the police’s default approach to demanding digital strip searches of victims of crime is unlawful, damaging and needs to end.

The report is here: https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/documents/2617838/ico-report-on-mpe-in-england-and-wales-v1_1.pdf

Hundreds of people, mainly women victims and survivors of rape and sexual assaults, have been denied justice simply for trying to protect their legal rights when faced with unjustified requests for years of irrelevant data.

The police and CPS’s failure to observe basic privacy rights has done irrevocable damage within our justice system and no doubt has allowed dangerous criminals to walk free.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said:

“Our investigation shows that rape victims are being systematically denied justice if they defend their data rights. Victims of no other crime are expected to surrender their digital lives to such speculation and scrutiny.

“Victims reporting rape to the police want nothing more than to advance investigations and to consent to lawful and proportionate evidence collection. But the police insist on an all or nothing approach in which they have to either put their private lives on trial or see rapists walk free.”

The onus is now on the Government, the CPS and police to engage with us and victims’ groups to bring about urgent reforms that afford victims’ legal rights to privacy, consent and above all justice.

We need all the help we can get to end digital strip searches. Visit our campaign page to take action now.

The Guardian — Police in England and Wales dropping rape inquiries when victims refuse to hand in phones