Irish Police to Be Given Authority over Device Passwords and Internet Accounts

New legislation in Ireland has given the nation’s police the authority to demand passwords for electronic devices for serving search warrants.

The amendments are part of the Garda Sochána Bill, which was issued on Monday by Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s justice minister.

The police in Ireland, known as the Garda Síochána, or the Gardaí (the Guards) for short, and the new legislation includes sweeping changes to law enforcement in the country. 

This includes a new requirement to keep a written record of a stop and search, which will allow data to be collected to assess the effectiveness and usage of the powers.

A person who refuses to surrender a password for a mobile phone or other devices to gardaí will be committing a crime and could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to €30,000 or over $36,000.

The minister said that the new legislation 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,” Humphreys added.

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