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Scottish police rolling out tech to bypass phone passwords

Police in Scotland are planning to roll out more than 40 new kiosks that would enable officers to access data from smartphones without need for the master password.

The so-called “cyber kiosk” technology, which will come into effect from January 20, is designed to speed up investigations into tech-based crimes, including those that involve child abuse.

Cops north of the border say the cyber kiosks will enable officers to “bypass passwords [and] overcome locks and encryption security to access the data held on a mobile device” once a phone is plugged into them.

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Despite the obvious privacy implications, Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham claimed the new tech would make it possible for the Old Bill to keep pace with the advanced tech users, hinting that those in the nonce community could suffer most.

He said (via The Herald) officers are “committed to providing the best possible service to victims and witnesses of crime.”

Graham added: “This means we must keep pace with society. People of all ages now lead a significant part of their lives online and this is reflected in how we investigate crime and the evidence we present to courts.

“Many online offences disproportionately affect the most vulnerable people in our society, such as children at risk of sexual abuse, and our priority is to protect those people.

“Current limitations, however, mean the devices of victims, witnesses and suspects can be taken for months at a time, even if it later transpires that there is no worthwhile evidence on them. By quickly identifying devices which do and do not contain evidence, we can minimise the intrusion on people’s lives and provide a better service to the public.”

The fuzz in Scotland have spent almost £400,000 on the kiosks over the last few years, but now it seems they’re ready to come into effect, following objection. While the tech is likely to assist in catching some criminals, there are obvious fears the tech might be misused.

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