Experts split on whether new guidance for crime victims will help or hinder prosecutions

Complainants in rape and serious sexual assault cases who refuse police access to the contents of their mobile phones could allow suspects to avoid charges, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Max Hill QC, and a senior police officer have warned.

New national consent forms authorising detectives to search texts, images and call data are proving controversial, Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave has admitted, as the difficulties of disclosure in the digital age risk pitting the pursuit of justice against preserving privacy.

Artificial Intelligence has various definitions, but in general it means a program that uses data to build a model of some aspect of the world. This model is then used to make informed decisions and predictions about future events. The technology is used widely, to provide speech and face recognition, language translation, and personal recommendations on music, film and shopping sites. In the future, it could deliver driverless cars, smart personal assistants, and intelligent energy grids. AI has the potential to make organisations more effective and efficient, but the technology raises serious issues of ethics, governance, privacy and law.

Related: When rape cases don't make it to trial | podcast

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