The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the Michigan State Police questioning them about their usage of cellular data extraction devices. Manufactured by Cellebrite, these devices can connect to a wireless handset and download personal data such as text messages, call history, contacts and photos from the phone’s internal storage and SD card. The DEDs are used by carriers to transfer data to a new phone when a customer upgrades from an older device.
The Michigan State police reportedly purchased these devices in 2006 and used them “to obtain critical information from criminals.” Details on when the data extraction devices were used is not available, but the ACLU hints they may have been used without warrants and without a suspects knowledge. ACLU attorney Mark Fancher write the following to Lt. Col. Kriste Etue of the Michigan State Police:
“A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.”
The Michigan State police responded to this ACLU request and provided guidance to troopers on their usage of these cellular data extraction devices. The statement advises trooped to obtain a search warrant or consent from the mobile device owner. It also admonishes them not to use the device to “extract citizens’ personal information during routine traffic stops.”
The Michigan State Police has also responded to these reports with a statement clarifying that “the DEDs are not being used to extract citizens’ personal information during routine traffic stops.” Drivers in the state of Michigan can rest easy knowing the police are not lifting your photos while they check your license and registration.
[Via PC Magazine]