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Posts Tagged ‘Data’

The gadgets police use to snarf cell phone data

In Americas, Tech on April 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

By Matthew Lasar

If a police officer stops you in the course of investigating some matter, can she peruse the contents of your mobile device as she might demand your identification or the contents of the glove compartment of your vehicle? Does a routine traffic stop allow access to your phone’s photos, videos, text messages, and contacts?

The gear to grab this data is widely available. Cell phone extraction hardware made by CelleBrite, for instance, can grab a phone’s contacts database, its text message log, call history, pictures, videos, ringtones, or even a “complete file system memory dump.” The Michigan State Police is a CelleBrite customer, and its routine use is raising questions about the propriety of law enforcement accessing data stored on cell phones.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan worries about how the state police have been using their gadgets, saying that CelleBrite gear can “quickly download data from cell phones without the owner of the cell phone knowing it.” They want to know how, when, and where the cops are doing these searches.

After requesting the information using 70 Freedom of Information Act filings, the ACLU was told that documents in question were voluminous. They would include the department’s records, logs, and reports of its actual use of these…

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