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London develops new system to extract mobile data from suspect’s cell phone


The Metropolitan Police in London have developed a new system that allows the officers to extract all mobile phone data of a suspect who is taken into custody. The data includes call history, texts and contacts – and is performed even if charges have not been filed yet, according to BBC.

The new system will allow officers to extract the data right away, something they once had to wait a few weeks for. The terminals will be built in various police stations around the country.

“Mobile phones and other devices are increasingly being used in all levels of criminal activity,” Stephen Kavanagh, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, told the news source. “When a suspect is arrested and found with a mobile phone that we suspect may have been used in crime, traditionally we submit it to our digital forensic laboratory for analysis.”

However, this is receiving a great deal of opposition, as the Privacy International group is looking into this system.

“We are looking at a possible breach of human rights law,” spokeswoman Emma Draper told the publication. “It is illegal to indefinitely retain the DNA profiles of individuals after they are acquitted or released without charge, and the communications, photos and location data contained in most people’s smartphones is at least as valuable and as personal as DNA.”

Draper adds that once a person is arrested, it may be necessary to go through their cell phone data, but this should not be the case if the person is just brought in for questioning, the media outlet reports.

Even though civil liberties laws are different from the United States and the United Kingdom, in some cases big cities such as London and New York have worked together to develop similar tactics, according to PC Magazine. For instance, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has traveled to London and met with the London Police Chief Superintendent to look at the city’s security camera system, which is something Bloomberg has been working to emulate.

In addition, this debate has been a topic of discussion for quite some time, as some Americans find it unconstitutional for cell phone tracking software to be implemented without a warrant.