Police Scotland confirms roll-out of cyber kiosk technology

By Democrat reporter

Police Scotland has confirmed that the phased roll-out of cyber kiosk technology will begin on 20 January 2020.

Cyber kiosks are desktop computers, which will be located in police stations across local policing divisions. The technology allows specially trained officers to triage mobile devices to determine if they contain information which may be of value to a police investigation or incident. This will allow lines of enquiry to be progressed at a much earlier stage and devices that are not relevant to an investigation to be returned quicker.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, below right,  said: “We are committed to providing the best possible service to victims and witnesses of crime. This means we must keep pace with society. People of all ages now lead a significant part of their lives online and this is reflected in how we investigate crime and the evidence we present to courts.

“Many online offences disproportionately affect the most vulnerable people in our society, such as children at risk of sexual abuse, and our priority is to protect those people.

Graham DCC Malcolm Graham 26 cropped close in“Increases in the involvement of digital devices in investigations and the ever-expanding capabilities of these devices mean that demand on digital forensic examinations is higher than ever.

“Current limitations, however, mean the devices of victims, witnesses and suspects can be taken for months at a time, even if it later transpires that there is no worthwhile evidence on them.

“By quickly identifying devices which do and do not contain evidence, we can minimise the intrusion on people’s lives and provide a better service to the public.”~

Police Scotland recognises that the use of personal data as a key resource for law enforcement comes with the tension between intrusiveness and the need to maintain public consent. These valid concerns have been the subject of extensive consultation and scrutiny by internal and external reference groups which have supported the development of publically available information explaining policies and processes, along with impact assessments to mitigate any concerns raised.

Data ethics is an area of growing importance across UK Policing and Police Scotland is developing a Data Ethics Governance Framework to balance requirements to comply with data protection and privacy regulations, ensure fair and reasonable data usage, maximise the use of data for public good and ensure legitimacy of the police service.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and independent senior counsel have affirmed the existence of a legal basis for the use of cyber kiosks. 

Police Scotland will only examine a digital device where there is a legal basis and where it is necessary, justified and proportionate to the incident or crime under investigation.
Cyber kiosks used by Police Scotland will not be enabled to store data from digital devices.  Once an examination is complete, all device data is securely deleted from the cyber kiosk.

Forty one cyber kiosks have been procured and will be located in police stations across all policing divisions. It is anticipated all will be operational before 1 May 2020.
Significant consultation has been undertaken with external advisory and stakeholder groups and Police Scotland held a series of public engagement events on digital forensics in 2019.

An updated report on the roll-out of the kiosks will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority for discussion on Friday, 17 January 2019. Police Scotland has written to all stakeholders, including the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing, to keep them informed.

A copy of the Scottish Police Authority report is available here.

To find out more about cyber kiosk visit our dedicated page.


  1. Uber trawling where every aspect of one’s personal digital life can be examined on the flimsiest of reasons.

    And make no mistake your personal smart phone has records of every aspect of one’s life.

    Justified intrusion. Of course. Everyone’s personal life should be an open book.

  2. And when there’s a march like Saturday’s AUOB the first thing police can do is get a ‘ tower dump’ of every phone passing a particular mast.

    Uber surveillance of innocent people. Of course not it’s only right that people should be tracked like this.

  3. Or what about the thousands of ANPR cameras that read and record every passing vehicle as it passes a camera on the highest.

    Recording billions of vehicle movements as to where and when and with the ability to track vehicles across the UK it’s reassuring to know that someone can watch and track all our movements – and not just criminals.

  4. And access to our every email and electronic existence.

    Well why not. That’s what Cambridge Analytica and Big Data were about when they identified the voting sentiment of millions of individuals from their online activity.

    Yes big data analyses your email content, the search queries you run, the sites you visit and much more.

    Nothing to worry about there if I may opine. Who could object?

  5. Or what about mass facial recognition surveillance.

    Deployed to scan fans attending football derbys or city centre crowds going about on a Saturday’s shopping you know this tracking and trawling is in the public interest.

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