Irish police to be given powers to demand passwords

  • New legislation in the Republic of Ireland means people can be compelled to give Irish police their passwords for electronic devices, when the Gardaí are undergoing a search warrant.

    Irish Justice Minister, Heather Humphreys published the change as part of the Garda Síochána Bill on Monday.

    Gardaí will also be required to make a written record of a stop and search, so that data can be collected to assess how useful these new powers are.

    Special measures will be introduced for suspects who are children and suspects who may have impaired capacity.

    Those being investigated for multiple offences simultaneously will also have longer maximum detention periods of up to 48 hours, under the new bill, and will allow for a week's detention for suspects in human trafficking offences, which are currently subject to a maximum of 24 hours detention.

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    "The law in this area is currently very complex, spread across the common law, hundreds of pieces of legislation, constitutional and EU law," said the Justice Minister.

    "Bringing it together will make the use of police powers by gardaí clear, transparent and accessible.

    "The aim is to create a system that is both clear and straightforward for gardaí to use and easy for people to understand what powers gardaí can use and what their rights are in those circumstances.

    "At the same time, where we are proposing to extend additional powers to gardaí, we are also strengthening safeguards. The bill will have a strong focus on the fundamental rights and procedural rights of the accused.

    "I believe this will maintain the crucial balance which is key to our criminal justice system, while ensuring greater clarity and streamlining of Garda powers."

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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