The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Mobile phones often store large amounts of highly sensitive data, reflecting not only our most private thoughts, feelings and movements, but also those of our friends and family.

From biometric, financial and medical data, to personal information that reveals our location, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and ethnic origin, mobile phones are powerful repositories of our daily lives.

When the ICO investigated concerns about the potential for excessive processing of personal data extracted from mobile phones by police forces, in a process known as mobile phone extraction, we found it to be a complex area, covered by a broad range of legislation relating to criminal justice and data protection.

The ICO’s investigation reports examine the relevant data protection rules in some detail and provide key recommendations on how to comply with the law.

Investigation reports

Investigation update report: Mobile phone data extraction by police forces in England and Wales – 30 June 2021

Investigation report: Mobile phone data extraction by police in Scotland – 30 June 2021

Investigation report: Mobile phone data extraction by police in Northern Ireland – 30 June 2021

Investigation report: Mobile phone data extraction by police in England and Wales – 18 June 2020

News and blogs

Blog: Improving mobile phone extraction practices across the criminal justice system in the UK – 30 June 2021

News release: ICO releases findings on the use of mobile phone extraction by police forces – 18 June 2020