Had Your iPhone Confiscated By Law Enforcement? Here's What They Can Recover

Had Your iPhone Confiscated By Law Enforcement? Here's What They Can Recover

That phone you're carrying around could become your enemy if it falls into the wrong hands.

The American Civil Liberties Union has just published a report of an iPhone confiscation by Immigration and Custom Officials (ICE), which details the seizure of a girl's iPhone from her bedroom. Police were able to get text messages, personal information, call logs, web history—as you might expect—but also eight different passwords for various services. But, probably more frightening than all of those, is that the police were able to trace back 659 locations that the girl had traveled, by using cell phone towers and previous Wi-Fi connections. To get that type of detailed information, police used a service called Cellebrite, a mobile forensics service. You may think that the girl's mistake could have came from her not having a passcode set on her phone (she didn't), but even if she did, police have been known to use software that forces its way into the phone. And if that software doesn't work, the police have sent Android phones to Google so the company can get past lockscreens for them. If it's an iPhone, law enforcement have sent them to Apple in previous situations, and the company will send the iPhone back to police with a nice DVD containing all of the phone's information.

The case of the girl required a warrant, but searching through a phone has been a source of debate recently, with border agents saying that such a search doesn't require a warrant. “We know the police have started using tools that can do this. We’ve known the iPhone retains records of the cell towers it contacts. But we’ve never before seen the huge amount of data police can obtain,” said ACLU technology lead Chris Soghoian, who came across the report in a court filing. “It shouldn’t be shocking. But it’s one thing to know that they’re using it. It’s another to see exactly what they get.”

Check it out below and let us know what you think.

[via Forbes]

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Tags: iphone, android, phone, police, law-enforcement
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