Police Download Cell Phone Data
Charlotte, N.C. -- A YouTube video promotes the products available from a company called Cellebrite. Their technology can break password protection on 8-thousand different cell phone models and tablets. Investigators can extract existing and deleted information including phone calls, text messages, contacts, photos and video.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department has the system. Cellebrite's C.E.O. Jim Grady wouldn't reveal the details of the C.M.P.D. contract but he says the Charlotte program is typical."We give police a powerful tool just like any other tool that the police department uses," Grady said.
Grady said rules for gathering evidence are set by their communities. C.M.P.D. Spokesman Rob Tufano said "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department always obtains a court order in compliance with state and federal law before tracking mobile phones except in cases involving exigent circumstances."
The A.C.L.U. has been looking into the information cell phone companies give to police. They are seeking ways to safeguard against abuse of our constitutional right to privacy. "Things like who you're talking to and what you're talking about those are enormously personal and we need to make sure that information isn't out there being freely exchanged," said A.C.L.U. of N.C. Spokesman Mike Meno.
Tufano said they'll provide more details about Cellebrite on Thursday.