Police crack mobile phones to extract evidence

The Met Police force is to use software that can crack mobile phones to extract data to speed up investigations

The Metropolitan Police force is to use software that can extract data from mobile phones to speed up investigations.

This means police will be able to extract evidence that can be used in court without confiscating mobiles for the duration of a case or sending them offsite for forensic analysis.

Faster processing of mobiles during the arrest and charging process should mean that the police will save significant costs and time.

More than 300 officers will be trained to connect a suspect's mobile and produce a printout of the data stored on the device, as well as saving digital records of the content. This data will be retained regardless of whether any charges are brought, according to the BBC.

But guidelines given to officers state that data extraction can happen only if there is sufficient suspicion that the mobile phone was used for criminal activity.

The software will enable investigators to access even mobiles with locked SIMs to extract records

The software, installed on purpose-built terminals in police stations, will enable investigators to access even mobiles with locked SIMs to extract call records, contacts, text messages, location data and images.

The Aceso software from Southampton-based Radio Tactics will not, however, allow police to break onboard encryption on devices, according to the Guardian.

The evidence-gathering software is to be used across London, and could potentially be used across the rest of the UK, with some forces already using the same or similar software, the paper said.

The software can also be used to prove ownership of mobile devices and enable witnesses to submit videos or photos without having to hand in their entire device as evidence.

Stephen Kavanagh, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said mobile devices are increasingly being used in all levels of criminal activity and the ability to have immediate access to the data is welcome.

However, Privacy International has warned against using the technology on the streets in stop-and-search operations. This would be a "disturbing" expansion of police powers, the organisation said.


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