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Old 17th May, 2012, 11:27 PM
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Met Police to extract suspects' mobile phone data

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The Metropolitan Police has implemented a system to extract mobile phone data from suspects held in custody.

The data includes call history, texts and contacts, and the BBC has learned that it will be retained regardless of whether any charges are brought.

The technology is being used in 16 London boroughs, and could potentially be used by police across the UK.

Campaign group Privacy International described the move as a "possible breach of human rights law".
I wonder if they can extract data from a locked phone?
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Old 18th May, 2012, 10:26 AM
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It opens up a lot of questions, technical and legal.

From the technical side, how do they do it? Presumably to avoid the risk of contamination, it's using the phone's rom flashing interface to grab a ROM image rather than an in-phone backup (the image on this news article lends support to that. (More interesting would be how to set up a phone to erase itself when connected to one of these devices).

Then what about encrypted devices? I suppose the law requiring us to hand over passwords and encryption keys will be exercised more often, unless phone encryption is actually trivial to bypass and break.

Legally, the police have previously had to show prove reasonable suspicion in order to obtain a warrant to seek phone records from the telephone companies. That and the cost and difficulty of sending phones off for professional interrogation to get phone records without a court order have kept the police somewhat honest.

I don't see how any good can come of allowing the police to bypass due process, retain your data whether you're a criminal or not and allow them to go on fishing trips by doing the electronic equivalent of searching one's house without a warrant.
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