Police CorruptionSurveillance

How police can download the private contents of your phone in MINUTES without a warrant and with ‘no limit on the volume of data’

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Phoebe Weston | The Daily Mail | Source URL

The UK police can download your phone data without a warrant in a matter of minutes, a shocking video has revealed.

The footage shows how officers can use a machine to extract all kinds of information, including location data, deleted pictures and encrypted messages.

Opposition groups have argued that the police should not be able to access this data, which can currently used on suspects, victims and witnesses.

They warn there is ‘no limit on the volume of data’ police can obtain, and it could happen even if charges are never bought.

London-based charity Privacy International has highlighted how police access people’s passwords, internet searches and emails without prior permission.

The technology, which was shown on BBC‘s Victoria Derbyshire show, is currently used by at least 26 police forces in England and Wales. 

Using this machine, officers are able to access deleted data, including messages sent to the phone by other people. 

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

However, there was never a public announcement about these police powers.

Out of 47 police forces contacted by Privacy International, only eight said they had implemented guidelines on use of the technology.

There is ‘no limit on the volume of data’ police can obtain, Millie Graham-Wood, a solicitor at Privacy International said on the Victoria Derbyshire show.

‘The most worrying thing is that this can happen on arrest, even when charges are never even bought’, she said.

However, the police have warned that this was ‘just not practical’.

‘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,’ said former Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy.  

The technology is also currently being trialled in Scotland but is not being used in Northern Ireland.

In Derbyshire and Wiltshire, the police can even download a phone’s contents without the suspect’s knowledge. 

A Home Office spokesperson told BBC that the police needed ‘the appropriate powers to tackle crime’.

‘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’, they said.

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


WHAT INFORMATION COULD THE POLICE GET FROM YOUR PHONE?

The UK police have a machine that can download your phone data without a warrant in a matter of minutes.

Officers can use a machine to extract all kinds of information, including location data, deleted pictures and encrypted messages.

Opposition groups warn there is ‘no limit on the volume of data’ police can obtain, and it could happen even if charges are never bought.

Using this machine, officers are able to access deleted data, including messages sent to the phone by other people.

The service can take everything of one type off a phone. For example, if a witness’s phone has photos that police want the device can download all images.

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

The technology is currently used by at least 26 police forces in England and Wales.

Out of 47 police forces contacted by Privacy International, only eight said they had implemented guidelines on use of the technology.

The technology is also currently being trialled in Scotland but is not being used in Northern Ireland.

In Derbyshire and Wiltshire, the police can even download a phone’s contents without the suspect’s knowledge.


WHAT ARE PREDICTIVE POLICING SYSTEMS?

Predictive policing systems can forecast when and where crimes occur using based on prior crime reports and other data. 

Palantir Technologies has licensed its predictive policing software with local and international governments.

Most ingest vast amounts of data, including geography, criminal records, the weather and social media records.

From that, it makes predictions about individuals or places that are likely to be involved in a crime, according to the Verge.  

There are other predictive policing systems out there that are being utilized, many of them are different. 

The Los Angeles Police Department, New York Police Department, Chicago Police Department and, now, the New Orleans Police Department use predictive policing. File photo

Chicago’s police department uses a notorious ‘heat list,’ which is an algorithm-generated list that singles out people who are most likely to be involved in a shooting.

However, many experts have identified issues with Chicago’s heat list.

The government-funded RAND Corporation published a report saying that the heat list wasn’t nearly as effective as a standard wanted list. 

It could also encourage a new form of profiling that draws unnecessary police attention to people. 

Another academic study found that the heat list can have a ‘disparate impact’ on poor communities of color. 

A California startup called PredPol also built predictive policing software that’s been utilized by law enforcement officials, including the LAPD. 

In 2016, researchers conducted a study where they reverse engineered PredPol’s algorithm and discovered that it replicated systemic bias against communities of color that were over policed. 

It also found that historic data isn’t a good indicator of future criminal activity. 

The NYPD also had an agreement with Palantir Technologies to use its predictive policing systems.   

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