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MSPs call for halt on cyber-kiosks

Police Scotland is being urged to put its controversial deployment of cyber-kiosks on hold until there is greater clarity on the legal framework for their use, with an “assessment of both the benefits and the risks”.

Cyber-kiosks, or ‘digital triage devices’, are laptop-sized machines that allow officers to bypass encryption to quickly read personal data from digital devices such as mobile phones or laptops.

Police Scotland has 41 of these devices, which it had intended rolling out to police stations across Scotland from the autumn of 2018.

However, officers have been unable to use them due to the lack of clarity about the legal basis for their use. Concerns have been extensively covered through scrutiny carried out by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing, which has been investigating cyber-kiosks since May 2018.

In a new report, the justice sub-committee criticised the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) for a lack of effective scrutiny and oversight, and Police Scotland for not following best practice prior to using these devices on a trial basis and then deciding to roll-out their use across Scotland.

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