Scotland Police Roll out Cyber Kiosks Aimed at Data-Mining Your Phone With Ultimate Efficiently

By Shabana Arif on at

Whether you're cooperating with the cops or have had your phone seized by the fuzz, you won't have to worry about them rifling through your data.

Or so say the police force in Scotland, whose new cyber kiosks can filter through the contents of your smartphone and "quickly identify if a device contains material relating to the investigation," rather than having it be confiscated for months while someone in an office somewhere does the same job.

The kiosks are designed to "minimise intrusion" and can filter based on data type and time periods for a more focused search - like SMS, pictures, etc for the past week. The kiosk has the ability to save data by the sounds of things, but this has been disabled so that some little weirdo can't take it upon themselves to save your nudes after they're done poring through your personal life. It's going to suck if the police - or anyone else for that matter - are rooting around your phone, but at least this goes some way to limiting what they're looking at and giving the public some assurance that those powers aren't being abused.

If evidence is found on the device, bid farewell, as it'll be sent off to a Police Scotland cybercrime unit for more poking around. The kiosks can bypass passwords and lock screens but this will apparently only be done in circumstances where the cybercrime unit has been consulted.

As much as this is meant to be an assurance to the public, abuse of power is rife and so is the disregard for data privacy. This just sounds like another step in the direction of stripping people of their privacy on the say-so of higher authorities, but it's admittedly difficult to strike a balance when the person in question has involved themselves in criminal activities. [Engadget]