Information from mobile phones is already a well-established part of the police's forensic arsenal, as location data is commonly used to put criminals at the scene of a crime. But one problem is that location information only establishes a phone was in a particular place, and without corroborating information, it's possible to argue that a certain person may not have had that phone in their possession -- and hence, been somewhere else. In an effort to help investigators better determine who was using a phone at a particular time, in addition to where it was, researchers are now trying to determine ways to detect who wrote a particular SMS. Much like handwriting or linguistic analysis can be used to establish if the same person wrote two particular things, researchers think they can tell whether a group of messages were written by the same person by looking at how certain words are abbreviated, or the way messages are structured and written. While it remains difficult for law-enforcement bodies to intercept text messages in real-time, the growing push for data-retention laws that include them, as well as advances in forensic analysis, will likely make them a much more valuable tool for investigators in the future.
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