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Welcome to the fish bowl

Police love the iPhone data trail:

“When someone tells me they have an iPhone in a case, I say, ‘Yeah!’ I can do tons with an iPhone,” said Fazio, who works in the sheriff’s department high-tech crimes unit.

The iPhones generally store more data than other high-end phones — and investigators such as Fazio frequently can tap in to that information for evidence.

And while some phone users routinely delete information from their devices, that step is seldom as final as it seems.

“When you hit the delete button, it’s never really deleted,” Fazio said.

I’m guessing android phones are probably about the same.

14 Responses to “Welcome to the fish bowl”

  1. The Packetman Says:

    Iím guessing android phones are probably about the same.

    For now, perhaps. But once the open source community hears about it, deleting will be deleting.

  2. mikee Says:

    Same for most any device with a modern operating system, I think.

  3. The Packetman Says:

    modern operating system

    I see what you did there!

  4. Rustmiester Says:

    Yeah, that stuff just gets marked as deleted and will be overwritten, eventually. I’m sure there’s some scrubbing programs out there that will *really* delete stuff once it’s marked.

  5. Sebastian Says:

    I’d imagine what makes their lives easier is that most smart phones have filesystems, and when you delete from a filesystem, it only unlinks the data from the tree. It leaves the data hanging out, free to be overwritten at some point, but depending on how much you use your phone, that could be a while.

  6. Stranger Says:

    If you are up to no good, a prepaid phone, paid in cash, is the way to go. And if you don’t use a phone much, they are by far the cheapest way to go.


  7. JKB Says:

    Cleaning your phone so that it doesn’t become a witness for the prosecution at your trial: There’s no app for that.

    Stranger: a prepaid purchased in cash at a store without surveillance cameras while wearing a porno mustache. Also, only used for one element of your criminal activity with completely separate phones bought at a variety of locations for other elements. Crime is hard. Surely we’ll see a right for criminals to use high tech unmolested.

  8. kuhnzoo Says:

    No cell (iphone, droid, etc.), no trail (data, GPS, etc.).

  9. Molon Labe Says:

    One of these days IF I ever break down and buy a cell phone, I’ll have to keep this in mind.

    You should see the laughs i get when i announce to my friends i’m getting a text and pull out a dixie cup with a string attached just for gags.

  10. Sigivald Says:

    Packetman: Problem with that is that most (almost all?) Android phones aren’t open in practice.

    Sure, the carrier can modify the OS. But you, the end user?


    You don’t have access to replace the OS or components. You have to jailbreak the phone just like a iPhone user, in order to get root access on your phone to do stuff like that.

    (That said, sure, on an Android phone at least in theory once you do that you could modify the kernel to do a secure [and slower] delete.

    But why?

    Smart people who are doing bad things never do them on their phone anyway.

    Smart people not doing bad things aren’t going to have anything incriminating to find.

    And dumb people aren’t going to “fix” it in any case.)

  11. John Smith. Says:

    Smart people never use non-disposable phones to do bad things. I really like some of the chinese brand phones. They do not have gps or internet plus they can take more than one chip on quite a few models.

  12. John Smith. Says:

    I would not mind some software that automatically encrypts deleted memory with a one time keypad type of encryption.

  13. Bubblehead Les Says:

    Heard some Senators from both parties are trying to get a bill through that would ban the sale of Pre-Paid Phones w/o I.D. Of course, this would mean that Bloomburg could send people out of state and make “Straw Purchases” of phones, and demand that they close the Loophole. But then some shady dude will just be hanging around the Quick-E Mart, whispering “Psssst! Need some Samsung? Got some good Motorola here! Want to score some Nokia?”

  14. John Smith. Says:

    I suspect bloomburgs people would buy the phones and call in bomb threats then admit they did them to show you what could be done with a prepaid phone.