Cell phone forensics helps cops fight crime

James Rowley
James Rowley
Bob Elder
Bob Elder
Chris Duque
Chris Duque

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The box is a small anvil case with connectors that hook to any type of cell phone.

Coupled with software and a laptop, it can perform cell phone forensics -- another tool for fighting crime.

"Text messages, pictures, call histories, call logs, contacts. Any information a user would use in their cell phone could be extracted from it," James Rowley said.

Rowley works for Micro Systemation. The company makes one of the more widely used cell phone forensics systems.

On Thursday he gave one to the Honolulu Police Department.

"There hasn't been a phone that I haven't been able to acquire data from," said Detective Bob Elder of the Victoria Police Department.

He has used the technology to bust murderers, child porn traffickers, and drug dealers by using information from their cell phones.

He said narcotics cases are like connecting dots.

"That's all in the text messages. Some of these phones will hold up to 900 text messages and we'll see a history dating back for two or three weeks," he said.

Cell phone forensics recaptures deleted text messages and voice mails and uncovers GPS coordinates embedded in photographs.

Prosecutors and investigators say more cell phone evidence will be used in Hawaii.

"I've had cases where not only call records but actually text messages, videos, sound bites that I've recovered from cell phones have been introduced in the civil arena. So going into criminal prosecution it's just a matter of time," said Chris Duque of InfraGuard Hawaii.

Cell phone forensics has been around since 2003.

The FBI, Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security use it.

Police departments are either getting on board or getting better at finding evidence in cell phones that can then be used in court.

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