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Mobile Phone Data: Criminal Trials

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 16 September 2021

Effective handling of digital information is crucial to ensuring robust disclosure practices and effective trials. Alongside the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor, I will be co-hosting a tech event later this year with industry experts to investigate novel approaches to managing mobile device data throughout the criminal justice process. The revised disclosure guidelines that I published earlier this year specifically address technological issues, to assist practitioners in this ever-complex field.

Could my right hon. and learned Friend please explain how mobile phone data is being used to track and capture people smugglers who are sending illegal immigrants over the channel?

My hon. Friend raises an important and concerning issue. People smuggling is a terrible crime that blights the lives of vulnerable people and I welcome all the efforts the Government are making to combat it. The Crown Prosecution Service regularly uses mobile phone data when prosecuting offences under the Immigration Act 2016. Phone metadata can identify the location at which the phone was used, while the information content can identify details of the offence, or even wider offences. The CPS is highly cognisant of the effective use of mobile data, where available, to pursue effective prosecutions.