Data gathering ‘unlawful’ under GDPR
(Posted on 19/10/18)Share:
In a letter to the Information Commissionerâ€™s Office (ICO), Londonâ€™s victimsâ€™ commissioner Claire Waxman of the Mayorâ€™s Office for Policing and Crime has voiced her concern that rape victims may be discouraged from coming forward thanks to intrusive gathering of social media data by police.
For their claims to be pursued, victims must sign their consent to allow Prosecution and Defence lawyers access to highly personal information. Under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the consent forms or â€˜Stafford statementsâ€™ may be unlwawful if claimants are left with little real choice in signing.
â€œVictims are very concerned that they are being asked for so much sensitive material â€“ not only their phones, but also past medical history, their social services records and more,â€ said the Commissioner. â€œVictims often donâ€™t feel it useful, relevant or reasonable, but have to give consent it if they want to access justice. The justice process has just lot a grip on this; on the ground it is getting worse and worse.â€
Waxman also drew attention to the disparity between defendantsâ€™ and victimsâ€™ rights, the former being governed by PACE, â€œwhich sets out clear, transparent and stringent parameters that must be adhered toâ€.
â€œIf we are putting victims on trial â€“ and by putting them through this investigatory process letâ€™s be honest we are â€“ then they should be afforded the same rights under a free trial and they are not,â€ she added. â€œI think in light of what happened early this year the CPS had a blanket idea of â€˜letâ€™s get all information possibleâ€™, and that is completely the wrong way around.
â€œWe are in a situation where the system is completely blocked, and nothing is getting through. That is not a justice process that is working â€“ we are in a critical situation and it has to be tackled.â€
The backlash comes after the disclosure crisis which came to a head last December with student Liam Allen facing wrongful conviction for rape until a miscarriage of justice was ultimately averted by the disclosure of his accuserâ€™s social media history, including hundreds of messages setting out her rape fantasies.