Police data access shows need for openness

Figures showing police in Scotland have requested access to private communications data more than 60,000 times in three years shows the need for authorities across the UK to back a culture of openness, according to the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

A report by pressure group Big Brother Watch today revealed police in Scotland approved all but 1.7 percent of 62,075 requests made, lower than the average refusal rate elsewhere in the UK of four percent. 

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"Everyone wants to see a continued reduction in crime and its right that our authorities have the appropriate tools to do that job. But that cannot mean handing over unlimited access to our private emails and data to the police and other authorities. 

"This report demonstrates an urgent need for authorities across the UK to back a culture of openness by proactively reporting what they are accessing and why. It would maintain public confidence that this data is being accessed for appropriate purposes and without fear or favour to certain groups or individuals. 

"Scottish Liberal Democrats blocked the Snooper's Charter because it did not get the balance right between freedom and security. We will continue to oppose the Tories plans. The Scottish Government must also set out what it is doing to ensure Police Scotland adopts a culture of openness."









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