Victims of crimes, including rape victims are being asked to hand their phones over to police, and told that if they don’t the prosecution won’t go ahead.
Big Brother Watch’s “Victims Not Suspects” campaign is fighting these sweeping digital interrogations and calling for a proportionate and fair system that serves justice to complainants and defendants alike.
These “digital strip searches” and AI analysis of individuals’ digital records are putting the future of fair trials in jeopardy.
In a statement, Big Brother Watch’s Legal and Policy Officer Griff Ferris said:
“It is important for both victims and suspects that investigations are fair, proportionate and timely. However, these excessive digital trawls are simply a knee-jerk response that further delay and obstruct justice.
“The CPS is insisting on digital strip searches of victims that are unnecessary and violate their rights. Police investigators are drowning in irrelevant phone and social media data about victims’ private lives that often predate the reported crime by years. Some forces are even scouring victims’ devices with artificial intelligence tools that are an invasive, experimental and wholly inappropriate replacement for police investigative work.
“Treating rape victims like suspects in this way delays investigations and trials, prolongs distress for both victims and suspects, deters victims from reporting and obstructs justice. Urgent reform is needed so victims no longer have to sacrifice their private lives to bring criminals to justice.”
BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire – Rape victims asked to hand phones to police
Evening Standard – Rape victims ‘will be put off going to police’ over mobile phone plans
Daily Mail – Violation or justice? As rape victims face being compelled to hand over their phones to the police as evidence, read these compelling and utterly conflicting voices and judge for yourself
Law Society Gazette – ‘Sexual history not up for grabs’: disclosure consent forms challenged
Deutsche Welle – UK police order rape victims to hand over phone data
San Francisco Chronicle – Police in parts of UK urge rape victims to hand over phones