back to article Met bobbies get CSI kit to probe perps' mobes

The Metropolitan Police is deploying mobile phone forensic systems in 16 boroughs, allowing ordinary coppers to play their favourite CSI character with wrong 'uns' handsets. The kit comes from Radio Tactics, and is basically a Windows 7 PC loaded up with forensic software and a touch interface complete with step-by-step …

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Big Brother

No, not the mind probe!

Heaven help us if they ever invent "mind probe" technology. The MET will just snatch people off the street, take them down the station and extract any information they need against your will.

Oh, hang on.

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Anonymous Coward

I think the main issue people have been having is the notion that the plod will be able to store the data indefinetly even if you are released without charge.

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Silver badge

"...it seems only logical to extend that right into digital pockets too"

Why? Turning out pockets is necessary to establish the absence of weapons and maybe to provide evidence of the suspected crime (eg shoplifting). What is on the phone is not relevant for most crimes and sucking the suspect's comms as a matter of course (and presumably also sucking info out of whatever social network they may be connected to) is just plain nosiness and fishing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "...it seems only logical to extend that right into digital pockets too"

Lets not forget that when they turf out my pockets they don't go down the cobblers and keep a copy of my housekeys.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "...it seems only logical to extend that right into digital pockets too"

That's what you think. If they're bent they probably do do that.

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FAIL

Wow! A whole 5 days' training?

That should prevent any mistakes, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow! A whole 5 days' training?

Pretty sure anyone with an IQ in the range of the average garden snail could probably get by on a couple of hours training.

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It's a pity

that the police can't confine themselves to actual crimes committed, instead they go around fishing for possible "crime" in your mobiles, cameras, etc. Perhaps real actual crime is too scary for them. Does the word "twats" fit here ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a pity @Purlieu

Interestingly, "twats" is a word that often springs to mind when I visit these forums.

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Unhappy

guilty or not

The plod will keep any information gleaned. You will have to go through the same convoluted procedure to ensure its destruction that currently you have to go through to get your DNA removed from their DBs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/07/dna-database-police-advice

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Anonymous Coward

Time for mobiles to be encrypted?

I think i will take a browse for an app...

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I saw the BBC story friday (and emailed it to the reg), I spent most of Friday night and Saturday morning testing out some encryption. Surprisingly its not to hard to get it working on Android but its time consuming having to enter passwords using arrow keys and selection screen rather than a keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

Problem is...

..the wankers will then bang you up for 5 years if you don't decrypt.

Met Police: Guilty unless you can prove innocence, at which time they will find something else. After all you're either a terrorist or a peado. If not, we'll find something.

Another reason to avoid London, but no doubt our coppers will get it soon as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem is...

Won't that just mean hidden data, like trucrypt does, giving you plausible denyability?

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Re: Problem is...

In most cases its boot level encryption as that's the only way to protect call logs etc, I still don't see the point in this. Most of the records they want such as texts and call logs can be grabbed from the mobile provider, the only plausible reason is catching people stupid enough to record themselves committing a crime in which case they are hardly going to be committing the crime of the century but rather something stupid like happy slapping.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem is...

"Most of the records they want such as texts and call logs can be grabbed from the mobile provider"

With the aid of a court order / warrant, where one has to prove to a judge there's reasonable ground to suspect someone of committing a crime; sucking it from the phone removes this need.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem is...

^ Although 'reasonable ground' could probably include an encrypted phone. You can't win for losing.

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Unhappy

Re: Problem is...

Reasonable ground..

The problem is that a number of Councils in the UK have thought that it was "reasonable grounds" to invoke RIPA when they suspected that us council tax payers were illegally overloading bins or sneaking dogs out to Parks in the early hours to avoid the dog poo wardens. I can't imagine the average plod will be any different..

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Re: Problem is...

"With the aid of a court order / warrant, where one has to prove to a judge there's"

Rather interestingly is why do they need to spend all this money at the moment on this equipment when they intend on installing real time monitoring inside providers facilities?

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Re: Problem is...

Probably because 'They' are GCHQ/Mi5/SOCA rather than CID down the local nick, who'd be going nowhere near that data even if they wanted to. And they probably wouldn't want to, as the local slag'll be using nicked PAYG blackberries, for which traffic analysis is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard, seeing as you've no idea who has what number anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem is...

What I'm curious about is what happens if say a well funded criminal group (like Russian mafia sorts?) decide to make malware whose sole purpose is to go in and either taint evidence or steal the contents of the shinny new database? This of course would be loaded onto the phones of dodgy sorts that shift product for them.

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WTF?

I am probably going to be downvoted for this but...

I happen to know some "old bill" and they also happen to be "typical Mac users" - NO FUCKING WAY would I trust them to know how to operate this kit properly!

Nuff said

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Re: I am probably going to be downvoted for this but...

I downvoted just for the hell of it....To be honest, I wouldn't let plod anywhere near anything more technical than their own 'walkie talkie' device (ie mobile phone).

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Happy

Re: I am probably going to be downvoted for this but...

That's okay matey! To be honest I like to "go for combos" in forum posts - I've slagged off the police and the apple fanbois in fell swoop here which is quite cool you gotta admit! These forums are like Farmville to me but with real people's feelings instead of virtual turnips!

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I don't have a problem with them reviewing the data - after all, that data is in your possession, and under the law as it stands, they have the right to search for evidence of crime and criminality. The problem is, retention when no crime or criminality has been detected - just as the retention of DNA has been ruled unlawful, I can bet that at the ECHR, this will be ruled unlawful too.

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Silver badge

"just as the retention of DNA has been ruled unlawful, I can bet that at the ECHR, this will be ruled unlawful too"

And I can bet, just like DNA, no matter what the ECHR say, they'll still retain it.

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Stop

@Will 20: All that data is in your possession...

From TFA: "though since the police gained the right to search one's pockets on request it seems only logical to extend that right into digital pockets too."

That a warrant-less pockets-search is OK does not imply that a wrrant-less cellphone search should be OK.

There's data on one's cellphone which one possibly might carry in one's pockets, but usually do not:

o List of friends and enemies, their phone numbers, when you last spoke, and for how long.

o List of business contacts, their phone numbers, when you last spoke, and for how long.

o Content of SMS messages and emails you sent and received, including confidential business and personal info ("Your VD tests turned up clean..."; "Joe Fookleheimer was caught on CCTV banging an intern in a carpark [vid attached]. Release this before the next board meeting, and you could steal his job.")

o Photos you sent and received, including nude pic your wife/GF sent you.

o Where you have physically been, when you were there, and for how long.

All this sort of info can be leaked to your detriment, or misused against you.

Pre-cellphone era, they'd have to mind-probe you (or blackmail you, or torture you) to get that info, and now the cops/prosecuters want to just vacuum all that up without probable cause or a warrant, easy as pie, and keep it for potential further (mis-)use.

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Stop

Data Retention Without Charge

A point barely touched on is that if you are arrested, but not charged, the contents of your phone will still be retained.

that's naked pics of your missus in the hands of plod. the need to not contaminate the evidence chain will not help you because it can be easily copied.

what can they do with the picture of you with your junk tucked between your legs pretending to be a woman in the mirror? anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Data Retention Without Charge

User education also required. Why would you be cruising around with vids/pictures on your phone that you could accidently leave somewhere or have stolen -> the data recovered and plastered all over youtube etc.

I'm always amazed by peeps that after a few drinks start showing off pics of their wife...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Data Retention Without Charge

"Reg Reader in Amazed That People Have Wives Shocker!!"

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Background app

I expect any serious crim will now be beaver away at developing an app that wipes said smartphone as soon as it is plugged into unrecognised computer or other device. Well that's what I'd do if I were criminally inclinedm which I'm not (apart from regularly downloading 'Linux' distros).

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Devil

Re: Background app

"Well that's what I'd do if I were criminally inclinedm which I'm not (apart from regularly downloading 'Linux' distros)."

So downloading Linux distros is now a criminal offence?!? Arrrghh! MS has finally won!

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Silver badge

Re: Background app

Note the quote marks put around Linux. It seems that "Linux Distros" is the new standard euphemism for pirated material. Sucks to be someone downloading actual Linux distros, apparently.

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Re: Background app

I'm glad you spotted the quote marks...The music I download is only stuff I bought on vinyl many years ago and I cannot be bothered with converting it myself.

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Anonymous Coward

'ello, 'ello, 'ello

that's all I have

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Silver badge
Black Helicopters

PCs

Phone Cops?

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Black Helicopters

attack of the mutant clippies.

I can just see the Rozzer Clippy now.

"Good Morning! What would you like to do today?"

1. Upload kiddie pron to Perps phone.

2. Upload call records and texts from Al Qaeda

3. Text "ICE- Wife" with Saucy Suzie Call.

4. Just fusck up the phone.

5. All of the above?

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Facepalm

" the amount coming off phones is doubling annually – but the stuff being pulled off PCs and other IT kit seized by the fuzz is growing exponentially"

Doubling annually is also growing exponentially.

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Pah !

Beat me to it. Reg - you may have a red top but this is supposed to be a tech site. Unimpressed.

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TRT
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Paris Hilton

I wonder which officer is going to be the first to get done for sneakily slurping the contents of their girlfriend's/ boyfriend's/ husband's/ wife's phone, now that it's been made so easy and self-service?

Paris, because of the potential for a ruinous affair.

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Hmm

Would this include BDG's two tin cans on a piece of string?

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Coffee/keyboard

Is it just me, or

Is it just me, or did the sentence "Windows 7 PC loaded up with forensic software" make you laugh. I know I did.

Anybody with a pile of mobiles without data connectivity will just also go lol at this.

Also if I was worried and personaly not breaking the law covers me against this (well to a 95% level anyhow as I didn't make my phone or its OS so there are flaws). Well i would simply use skype via a VPN and modify my phone so would need a special modified charger, anything else would instantly cause some extreeme voltages that would not bode the phone well, as well as the machine attached as well perhaps. This would then be a case of the police tampering with evedence. Though the law's of quantum mechanics and a good jury can argue that the by observing they tampered with the evidence in any case :-).

Personaly instead of a 5 day course indicating the software is badly written to the extent that it is not plug in, wait for machine to go ping, unplug, is light flashing red or green. They should talk to a univercity about getting a Raspberry PI and making a small box that does just that. If I had one I'd happily do that and after working out what a policeman gets paid for over 5 days, charge them around the price they pay for 5 hours work for the whole thing and still make a fat margin and sell more. Either way how much are they paying for it currently, how much does the training course cost and then the epenses of the officer to attend the training course etc etc and get the true cost.

But for using the device they shouldn;t need 5 ruddy days, anyalysing the results - well maybe, but only need a few in back office for that and the main devices just extract the data for analysis. Though can see how if i wasnted to creame a contract I'd mush the income about over cost of hardware, then software, then other software extra's, support, hardware support, training. Those who have past the period of 7 years in IT will know the cynical but true observation in alot of products out there.

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Silver badge

Just the motivation I needed

to upgrade to a more secure android rom.

It's either that or mod my phone to do a retinal scan before allowing access to the filesystem.

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Anonymous Coward

a cop in every street

Its getting to the point where the Gov may as well just put a cop in your home instead.....

25million homes in the UK, currently 2.5mill unemployed, give them all a job and you would have 1 cop for every ten homes. There we go, no need for expensive solutions, a cop in every street and we can even get rid of unemployment.

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Bronze badge
Big Brother

Re: a cop in every street

don't give 'em ideas

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Anonymous Coward

this Met Plod software doesn't do Windows Mobe 7.5 mango! (@less than 2% of the market) finally a reason to buy..... runs and ducks

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Silver badge

Bah!

A new vector for botnet trojans is announced to the world.

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Joke

But

Does the course that the rozzers undertake teach them how to write a GUI in Visual Basic to track the tea-leafs' IP?

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Anonymous Coward

I know this only mentioned in our pond...

But considering the NOTW scandal, and all the back lash, how the hell does one go from Phone Hacking is a crime (oops, I mean Forensics) to its perfectly alright "were no longer being paid off"?

And I am no stranger to being shafted, we have the "Patriot Act"

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Have a firmware that logs everything

So that data access necessarily involves modifying the contents of the phone. Like a tamper-evident seal.

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