April 1, 2012

A Word Indeed

The information in your smartphone and managed by your telecommunications carrier is available and accessible to others with today's tools and following the right processes. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (29 March 2012) reports on a new tool for law enforcement that captures your data from smartphones. 

It is called the Cellebrite or Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED).

As the video describes it works with almost every mobile device out there--over 1,800 of them. 

And when attached to a smartphone, it can extract everything from your call log, emails, texts, contact list, web history, as well as photos and videos. 

The forensic tool can even retrieve deleted files from your phone. 

Your smartphone is a digital treasure trove of personal information and the privacy protection afforded to it is still under debate. 

The article cites varying court opinions on "whether it's fair game to examine the contents of a mobile phone without a warrant," since it is in the suspect's immediate possession. 

According to law enforcement sources quoted in the article, "we use it now on a daily basis."

Aside from the contents on the phone itself, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (29 September 2012) earlier reported that telecommunications companies are also storing your personal data for various lengths of time.

For example, detail call records and text contacts are retained for up to 7 years and phone location information indefinitely, depending on the carrier.

This data is available too under the processes specified in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. 

While the technology is constantly getting better for us to electronically manage our information and communicate with each other, the reach and life cycle of digital information can certainly be far and long.

As we should all by now know, working remotely, digitally, in cyberspace, and encrypting, deleting, or even attempting to destroy data files does not ensure their ultimate privacy. 

In that respect, both digital and non-digital information are the same in one very important facet and that is as we all learned early in life that "a word once said cannot be taken back."


No comments: