Metropolitan police accused of keeping text information
Perhaps even more disturbing is that the contact phone numbers of the suspects are also kept on file.
Until now, any information stored on an arrested person’s mobile phone was sent off to the forensic laboratory for testing; this is no longer happening. Instead, the police themselves are retrieving and storing the information. Moreover, they are keeping it on file indefinitely.
This latest news comes hot on the heels of revelations that News of the World journalists hacked into celebrity and other people’s mobile phones, resulting in the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry. The Metropolitan police were also accused of colluding with journalists, so this latest accusation will probably not go down well with people who found themselves arrested but not charged with a crime.
Further, it is likely to anger people who just happen to be connected with those arrested.
The news came to light when it was realised that there is currently a yearlong experiment being carried out. A new computer system is being trialled, which extracts and saves digital information that can also be printed out when a handset is plugged in. No fewer than 16 London boroughs are involved, and it is hoped that, if deemed a success, the system will be rolled out across the country.
As to be expected, this news has attracted the attention of privacy campaigners. Emma Draper of Privacy International said: “We are looking at a possible breach of human rights law.”