Police Scotland has tried to play down its use of new technology which can override mobile phone passwords to hack devices and harvest data.

After the Sunday Herald revealed secretive trials of these "cyber kiosks" at police stations in Edinburgh and Stirling, which saw hundreds of phones accessed without the knowledge of the owners, the force said the pilot was over and there would be no more trials.

Then it emerged the force spent hundreds of thousands of pounds buying 41 kiosks which are to be distributed to police stations throughout Scotland.

Police Scotland swiftly sought to reassure the public that private information would not be downloaded, insisting the kiosks are used only to view data.

However, the interest of MSPs was peaked and a senior officer hauled before a Holyrood committee for questioning this week.

It then emerged the devices can be used to download data onto discs without the knowledge of the owner, be they a suspect or witness. Not only that, police have yet to work out how to encrypt these discs.

MSPs were left wide eyed when the senior officer had no idea whether human rights or privacy assessments were carried out.

The entire saga serves to underline how evasive Police Scotland appears about this new technology.

Senior officers will now have to report back to the committee about why they pressed ahead without public consultation.

The force should listen to MSPs and halt the rollout until politicians, the media, and most importantly the public, can get straight answers.