The Michigan State Police have been testing a high-tech device that can be used to extract information from cell phones. The CelleBrite UFED is able to copy most of the data on over 2500 different mobile devices, often in less than 2 minutes. A sales brochure says this device offers the following:
The UFED system extracts vital information from 95% of all cellular phones on the market today, including smartphones and PDA devices (Palm OS, Microsoft, Blackberry, Symbian, iPhone, and Google Android). Simple to use even in the field with no PC required, the UFED can easily store hundreds of phonebooks and content items onto an SD card or USB flash drive.
For nearly three years, the ACLU of Michigan (American Civil Liberties Union), has repeatedly asked what the State Police were doing with the UFED. So far, their FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests have been delayed or ignored by Michigan officials.
An ACLU spokesman says:
Through these many requests for information we have tried to establish whether these devices are being used legally. It’s telling that Michigan State Police would rather play this stalling game than respect the public’s right to know.
The ACLU fears that the next time you get stopped for speeding in Michigan, you’ll be handing over your cell phone, and your entire mobile history, to the nice officers.
Check out this video of the Cellebrite in action on CSI NY. Deleted cellphone data isn’t really deleted?