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back to article You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

It isn't just paedophiles. It is the accountant who thinks he is worth more than the company decides to pay him, and decides to create and pay fictitious invoices. It is the card-cloning gangs buying and selling mag stripes and card dumps. It is the drug dealers who think they are smarter than the police. Or it is just the plain …

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Anonymous Coward

If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

"The good news is that if no evidence is found the seized items are returned to the owners. [snip] The hardware will often be returned without hard drives."

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Alert

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

But I have a macbook Air and an iMac, are they going to repair my device, replace the hard drive, even if I have not been charged with any offence. Does this also include my Android phone with non-removeable storage >

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Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

"...the seized items are returned..."

...eventually. Maybe. If the owners ask nicely. If the cops can "find" the evidence, which seems to go missing at a rate proportional to it's potential for use in cops' homes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

Yes, and if my case was any guide, 2 years later when it was worth less than the cost of it's collection cost

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FAIL

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

"The good news is that if no evidence is found the seized items are returned to the owners. [snip] The hardware will often be returned without hard drives."

Hmmm. The [snipped] bit is "The bad news is that can take several months to happen. If illegal images (i.e. child pornography) are found on the disks, they will be shredded and destroyed without exception."

That's a pretty vital [snip].

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

....but they don't seem to have to provide any proof that it is illegal child porn, there's certainly no mention of a court case.

So, the only thing we know for certain is that the computer comes back without its hard drive and the excuse is that a policeman says he thinks there was something illegal on it.

I'm sure that in most cases the policeman is telling the truth but that's not much comfort to those who've lost their livelihood due to the missing computers disks when they'd done nothing wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

Property disposal is normally ordered by the court if the case get's that far. If it doesn't every Police force in the country has a civil claims department should your hyperthetical scenario occur, which it doesn't.

In reality, only hard drives containing indecent or prohibited images are not returned. Also. if someone's livelyhood is at stake then every effort is made for a copy to be made and the original returned (in non-paedophile cases). If a friend uses your computer and puts IIoC on there, they will endevour to copy off your data for you, if the offspring of a paedophile have course work on a computer that too will be recovered.

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Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

The chances of your harddrive getting destroyed by the police is pretty low. The chance of it randomly failing i much higher.

Either way, use off site backups!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

> In reality, only hard drives containing indecent or prohibited images are not returned.

AC, what is the definition of "indecent" in this context? And, assuming it does not imply possession is unlawful, why should that be grounds for not returning property?

Same goes for "prohibited", with the addition of: would a presumption on my part that only a court can decide if a given image is "prohibited", be correct?

Does the owner get compensated for the hardware being confiscated? Even if there is any data on it that cannot be lawfully returned, the hardware itself is not "illegal".

Lastly, do you happen to have any practical experience in this area?

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Coat

Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

"But I have a macbook Air and an iMac"

That's a crime in itself surely :)

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dv
Black Helicopters

Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

if you get v&, you are pretty well fscked no matter what. You have almost no rights, and the few rights that remain are designed to be, can be and will be used against you.

God forbid you are innocent, because then they will get you either on encryption or non-cooperation. And of course in the "course of justice" your life is pretty much destroyed. Your kit is confiscated and will be returned damaged and/or incomplete some time in the future. You cannot do your job, because you have restricted computer access restraint placed upon you.

Welcome to the free world.

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Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

>You cannot do your job, because you have restricted computer access restraint placed upon you.

This is a bit misleading - you're unlikely to have that condition placed upon you during police bail (as distinct from court bail) as it is practically unenforceable.

Even if plod decides to give it a punt, you can ask that free lawyer you were given to appeal it to the magistrates court, who can vary or remove police bail conditions. If the condition is so onerous as to not let you earn a living, then it's more likely than not to be removed unless you not working outweighs the risk that you might pose whilst on bail.

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dv

Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

I agree, up to a point. Remember that we're talking about an innocent (i.e. not guilty) person under investigation. That investigation can drag on for years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

It can drag on for years and years. Especially if you've not done anything that serious.

People with dodgy porn and creative accounting processes usually get shifted to the top of the forensics queue.

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Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

Then your Employer catches wind of your "shenanigans", then decides to place you on Administrative Leave, or just sack ya all together. 'Cause you've been branded as a Security Risk!

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There is no innocence

> God forbid you are innocent

The difference between being found guilty and not being found guilty (whether not being charged, or being acquitted in a trial) is only in the degree to which you are punished. In ALL CASES, irrespective of your guilt, bad things happen to you.

As the article says, even before you are charged, you are deprived of your freedom Every piece of electronic storage is removed from your house - some of which you may get back, though whether it would be after weeks, months or years is questionable. So how do you manage your work and your life while your "property" is gathering dust in a police lock-up?

The only solution is to buy replacements, presuming you are allowed to. So apart from the time you spent in a cell, you are also several £££hundred or thousand out of pocket - and still no-one's even charged you with doing anything wrong.

The problem is that our laws are based on the 18th century ideas of freedom and physical captivity. While you might be freed to walk the streets at some point after you finish "helping police with their enquiries", modern-day freedom requires a lot more than just physical presence. So all the restrictions and confiscations (whether temporary or permanent) exact a huge toll on ordinary people living ordinary, modern lives. Can you imagine a motorist having their car impounded for months while a traffic cop (possibly any given force's only qualified "forensic" traffic cop) plods slowly through the backlog of cases, for months on end, until they get to your 31MPH and only then decide not to prosecute and hand you back several car-shaped pieces of your vehicle? That seems to be on a par with the sort of thing that an IT accusation can bring.

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Big Brother

Re: There is no innocence

Look at Barry George. Murder sentences being what they are these days, it's debatable whether he'd have been punished more or less had he actually killed Jill Dando. And he's not entitled to compensation for being wrongly incarcerated because, according to the Court of Appeal, he may not be guilty but he's "not innocent enough".

Interestingly, if you are wrongly imprisoned and then eventually released when your case is overturned, the Home Office will send you a bill for room and board. Yes, really. If you get a compensation payment, half of it gets blown on paying for your imprisonment. I find it useful to remember that fact when considering the issue of justice in the UK. Once you're charged, our lords and masters believe you should be punished, and they will do so regardless of annoying distrations such as verdicts.

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Re: There is no innocence

A lorry where my wife works was in serious traffic accident (but it was not damaged) it impounded by the police outside for 12 months and was worthless when they got it back. So, this just doesn't apply to IT equipment.

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Big Brother

@Squander Two:- Re: There is no innocence

"...considering the issue of justice in the UK..."

Justice in the UK?

An intriguing idea - but the establishment would never permit it.

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Re: Terry 14 Re: There is no innocence

"....for 12 months and was worthless when they got it back...." Wow, a lorry that's market value dropped from useable to worthless just from sitting outside? Yeah, that's what happens when you buy those vehicles made of chocolate. Back in the real World, most lorries spend their entire lives outside and exposed to the elements and are valued assets for many years. So please do explain how the supposedly "undamaged lorry", sitting still and not adding any mileage and receiving the occasional rain shower, somehow reduced a working lorry to a pile of worthless scrap?

/We seriously need a male bovine manure icon.

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Re: durandal Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

Whilst I applaud your efforts in trying to educate the sheeple, they will only downvote you when you try and present them with actual facts that get in the way of their mindless hating of The Man.

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Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

Why assume that the only way a lorry can become worthless is by turning into scrap? I can think of lots of ways it could become worthless. For a start, if it was out of action for twelve months, the company will have had to replace it. Once they've had to pay for a replacement for a year, getting the original back is near-enough worthless. Especially if that payment significantly affected their viability.

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Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

"Why assume that the only way a lorry can become worthless is by turning into scrap? I can think of lots of ways it could become worthless. For a start, if it was out of action for twelve months, the company will have had to replace it. Once they've had to pay for a replacement for a year, getting the original back is near-enough worthless. Especially if that payment significantly affected their viability."

Erm, no thats totally wrong.

The lorry will still have had redisual value and could be sold for very near the identical cost of its replacement. The company will be out of pocket, but to pretend the lorry is a total loss (worthless) is to show ignorance of even basic economics or finance.

To assume they have to make a cash payment for the replacement lorry upfront is even worse. They can take a loan and pay interest charges, which will be signifcantly lower than the cost of the lorry.

I'm not denying there is a cost to the company, but its miniscule compared to the value of the truck. And becuase its a loan, it can be offset against tax.

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Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

matt, most lorries may spend their lives outside, but they also spend their lives being regularly maintained and serviced. a lorry that spends a year outside, unused and unmaintained, will be wrecked.

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Re: Squandered An Education Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

"Why assume that the only way a lorry can become worthless is by turning into scrap?...." Because the poster expressly stated that the holding of the lorry for a year made it worthless somehow.

"..... I can think of lots of ways it could become worthless....." So you can supply lots of convincing examples? This should be funny!

"..,,,For a start, if it was out of action for twelve months, the company will have had to replace it....." Nope, not even one convincing argument. Even if they had to replace it by hiring or purchasing another the original vehicle would still be an asset with value, and it would still have value a year later when returned, especially as the poster claimed it was undamaged in the accident.

"....,Once they've had to pay for a replacement for a year, getting the original back is near-enough worthless....." You obviously don't work in accounting, please go read up on the write down of fixed assets.

".....Especially if that payment significantly affected their viability." Ah, but that's not what the poster claimed. Yes, there might be a financial inconvenience due to their asset being held, but that in itself would not reduce the value of the asset to zero, it would simply be an additional cost.

So, that as a non-example, where are the rest of all those "ways" you insisted you could think of?

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Re: Graham Dawson Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

"..... a lorry that spends a year outside, unused and unmaintained, will be wrecked." Wow, you must have some serious acid rain around your way! Do you live on Saturn? Please do explain, from your obviously voluminous extent of mechanical knowledge, what "maintenance" is required to stop a lorry becoming "worthless" just from sitting outside for a year? Before you do, you may want to understand that the majority of the World's vehicles spend their entire lives without being garaged against the elements, let alone commercial vehicles designed for the outdoors life. As an example the British Army maintains a stock of lorries and other vehicles at rest in open-air storage in-between deployments, often for periods exceeding a year. Strangely, I don't recall the Army replacing all their lorries every year.

I kept a Fiat Mirafiori, probably the most rust-prone make of car ever, outside a London flat for three years without it magically dissolving away. One of those years was spent contracting in the Middle East with the only "maintenance" required upon my return being charging the battery, refilling the tank and giving it a wash. Please do try and claim an Eighties Fiat is somehow more resilient to the ravages of time and weather than an industrial lorry!

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Re: Graham Dawson Terry 14 There is no innocence

In fact yes, an 80s Fiat is more resilient than a modern lorry, in the same way that I could leave an old mini mayfair sat out on the street for a year without moving it and be able to drive away without issue, yet I couldn't leave my 2003 ford focus out for a year without having to spend a fortune having it repaired. Never mind the diesel in the lorry's tank turning to sticky sludge or the engine seizing up from lack of use, the ECU will be knackered, the electrics will be shot and the tyres will be ruined from sitting so long.

Those trucks you mentioned that the army keeps? They maintain them. They regularly turn over the engines, roll the wheels and clean the bodies, and air out the various bits where stale moisture will trap and corrode things. They change the oil, occasionally pump and replace the fuel, replace the wheels and test the electrics to be sure they're in working condition. They don't just leave them sat out in a field without touching them.

That aside, your fiat was built to very crude tolerances. Modern vehicles aren't. Even a 1980s lorry would have had a finer tolerance in its manufacture and would be much more vulnerable to environmental effects without regular maintenance.

So yes. Your fiat could survive conditions that a lorry would not tolerate, but only because it was made of rust and string to begin with.

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Re: Graham Desperation Re: Graham Dawson Terry 14 There is no innocence

"In fact yes, an 80s Fiat is more resilient than a modern lorry......" What complete cobblers! You do realise (well, you're probably trying to ignore) that many manufacturers store their vehicles before shipment, and may store them for extended periods before sending them to showrooms or customers? That the lorry you receive as new may actually have spent well over a year standing outside before you got it?

"..... in the same way that I could leave an old mini mayfair sat out on the street for a year without moving it and be able to drive away without issue, yet I couldn't leave my 2003 ford focus out for a year without having to spend a fortune having it repaired....." Stop now, it is quite obvious you know SFA about cars or lorries and are just embarassing yourself.

"......Never mind the diesel in the lorry's tank turning to sticky sludge....." Whilst you will get some sedimentation, commercial vehicle diesel will not turn to sludge in a year. But that's ignoring the fact it would be a simple task for a mechanic to drain the system and flush it through, even if it had magically turned into porridge, leaving the lorry ready for use.

".... the engine seizing up from lack of use.....". Simply would not happen. Why don't you claim it would be abducted by aliens, it would be more likely.

".....the ECU will be knackered, the electrics will be shot....." Apart from the fact that seals simply wouldn't break down over such a short period in order to allow enough water in to do any damage, it would be simple and cheap to repair or replace and in NO WAY AT ALL reduce the vehicle to being "worthless". Quit talking through your rectum.

"..... and the tyres will be ruined from sitting so long...." The only vaguely possible outcome, although extremely unlikely, and even then easily and cheaply sorted.

"......Those trucks you mentioned that the army keeps? They maintain them. They regularly turn over the engines, roll the wheels and clean the bodies, and air out the various bits where stale moisture will trap and corrode things....." Bullshit. They don't, and I know that because I have seen firsthand how they are stored at such depots as Aldershot.

".....That aside, your fiat was built to very crude tolerances....." Actually it wasn't because it was a road-prep'd Abarth rallycar with the hand-built Volumetrico engine. Apart from the headlight bowls and the doorhandles there was SFA standard about it at all, thanks. Once again, you are simply blathering complete male bovine manure in a desperate attempt to avoid admitting the whole story is a crock of the same.

But the most suspect bit of the whole story of is how a lorry was held for a year after an RTA, especially as the lorry was supposedly undamaged. The police normally measure up at the scene, take pics, and that's it. The only time they would seize a vehicle is if it was evidence of a serious crime such as vehicular manslaughter, or corporate manslaughter (such as not having been maintained), or fraud, or something like being used to transport drugs. So not only is your dribbling reply a joke but so is the original claim. It is just another example of vacuous police-bashing.

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Re: Squandered An Education Terry 14 There is no innocence

If you're going to be so obnoxiously confident in how superior your intellect is to the ignorant masses', you might want to avoid conflating the concepts of "value" and "worth".

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> "1 is the lower end of illegal through to 5 at the extreme end of the scale."

Heh, this is a bit illegal, and this is really illegal.

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It's not that insane. Something like topless selfie of a 14 yr old = 1 (technically illegal but not actually serious), rape video of 10 yr old = 5. Not sure how they differentiate 2,3,4 etc, but it does make sense to categorise them.

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I realise, I just found it humorous. Well, a bit humorous, probably about a 2.

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Anonymous Coward

just FYI:

1 is erotic posing with no sexual activity

2 is non-penetrative sexual activity between chilcren or masturbation

3 is non penetrative sexual activity between children and adults

4 is penetrative sexual activity

5 is sadism or bestiality

sentencing guidlines indicate that if it's level 4 or below and the subject is 16 or 17, then that can be cause for a reduced sentence.

Still seems a bit odd to me that it's completely legal for me to go out and have sex with a 16 year old, but if I have pictures of a 16 year old having sex then I go to jail...

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More to the point, it's illegal for married sixteen-year-old parents to see photos of each other naked.

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" it's illegal for married sixteen-year-old parents to see photos of each other naked."

There is an exception for people who are married / living 'together as partners in an enduring family relationship' (see s45 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003). It doesn't apply if a third party appears in the photo, so let's hope they don't take photos of the legal threesomes they have.

No one should claim UK sex law makes sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Rape of a 10 year old = Level 4. Level 5 is worse than that!

Age has no bearing on the level.

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Anonymous Coward

http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/docs/web_SexualOffencesAct_2003.pdf

Section 6A

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"There is an exception for people who are married / living together"

Ian 55,

Thanks for that. I live and learn.

Does that mean the legal photos become illegal if they divorce, though?

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So 1. Is the traditional bathtime photo or beach photo in swimsuit, that lurks in photo albums for a decade ready for parents to show it to the boy/girlfriend?

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If not now, doubtless in a few changes in the law's time...

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Stop

Level one also includes the sort of thing that might crop up in a collection of stock images which you downloaded, found the one image you needed, and then deleted.

Not much of a problem unless your computer is searched, then things start to get complicated for you...

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Anonymous Coward

One day ...

How long before there's a high-profile wrongful case against an innocent suspect? One day a Lord McAlpine or Andrew Mitchell will get the full treatment and highlight the victim's plight!

(and how big a Red Flag is this very article in your browser history? Guess I should tick that "Post anonymously" button, though of course it'll do no good if under investigation).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One day ...

Read about football manager Dave Jones's ordeal a few years ago, albeit unrelated to computers. Or the recent case of Graham Ovenden which appears to have been trumped up out of proportion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One day ...

Dave Jones was found innocent. Graham Ovenden was not. I think you need to distinguish between the two.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One day ...

Like this one?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/yorkslincs/series6/computer_doctor.shtml

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3 of 19

"there were 19 refusals to decrypt data to date in the period 2012/2013. Of those 19, three were successfully prosecuted"

So the other 16 had no charges brought against them? Those odds look pretty good to me! Definitely worth withholding the encryption passes.

Great article, well researched and very interesting.

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Happy

Re: 3 of 19

I was thinking of conducting all my criminal activity on a Cray II. Or even a LEO, if I can get one. That way, they'll never get my computer into the evidence bags... No chain-of-evidence, no conviction.

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Re: Cray II or LEO

I'm pretty sure that's when your house is considered evidence and gets covered in tape...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3 of 19

I received a letter from the Metropolitan Police sent straight to my home address (not via my solicitor which is what they should have done) asking me for passwords to devices that were seized from my home.

Of these three "encrypted" devices, only one was actually encrypted: a USB flash drive which I had only encrypted to learn about encryption software and had nothing of any interest on it, I didn't use it and can't remember the password.

The other items were an external hard drive with a damaged file allocation table which I was not able to access (not encrypted), and, very generically, "[brand] laptop and power cable" which is vague in the extreme seeing as there was nothing encrypted/passworded on it that I can recall.

Needless to say I have ignored their request. This was around 6 months ago and I have not heard anything more about it since (touch wood). I have since been charged and entered a (not guilty guv') plea and most of the evidence has been served (no computer evidence, surprise surprise) The lesson here is don't underestimate the incompetence of the police service.

AC for obvious reasons.

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Happy

Re: 3 of 19

IF A CELL HANDSET is on a body when that body does evil REMOVE AND DESTROY THE SIM. Without a SIM many of these 'forensic products' won't work.

AND if you are planning evil, plan to get a throw away cell handset (as in smash with a hammer) OR a SIM you destroy after your evil scheme is completed.

When I travel I use a very old but trusted Mitsubishi Trium Mars on my shorter trips to the West. It might be 2G but there is no GPS or memory - other than the SIM.

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