The Details Of What Information The Police Can Suck Out Of Your Phone

from the it's-a-lot-more-than-you-might-think dept

We've been troubled by a series of court rulings that have given police broad powers to search mobile phones without a warrant. California lawmakers tried to pass some legislation preventing such searches, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill to keep law enforcement happy.

Of course, most people have no idea what the police can pull off of your phone when it's searched, but the ACLU has, thankfully, revealed some documents that ICE filed in a court case. It turns out they can get quite a lot. Using a single "data extraction session" they were able to pull:
  • call activity
  • phone book directory information
  • stored voicemails and text messages
  • photos and videos
  • apps
  • eight different passwords
  • 659 geolocation points, including 227 cell towers and 403 WiFi networks with which the cell phone had previously connected.
As the ACLU notes, this is a hell of a lot more information than law enforcement could ever reasonably achieve in the past -- especially without a warrant.
Before the age of smartphones, it was impossible for police to gather this much private information about a person's communications, historical movements, and private life during an arrest. Our pockets and bags simply aren't big enough to carry paper records revealing that much data. We would have never carried around several years' worth of correspondence, for example—but today, five-year-old emails are just a few clicks away using the smartphone in your pocket. The fact that we now carry this much private, sensitive information around with us means that the government is able to get this information, too.

The type of data stored on a smartphone can paint a near-complete picture of even the most private details of someone's personal life. Call history, voicemails, text messages and photographs can provide a catalogue of how—and with whom—a person spends his or her time, exposing everything from intimate photographs to 2 AM text messages. Web browsing history may include Google searches for Alcoholics Anonymous or local gay bars. Apps can expose what you’re reading and listening to. Location information might uncover a visit to an abortion clinic, a political protest, or a psychiatrist.
The whole idea that law enforcement can search your mobile phone is based on the idea that they can search items in your possession. But that never took into account the digital record that is stored in your mobile phone that goes way, way beyond what someone in the past could effectively carry in a box or a bag or something.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 4:03am

    I don't really care if anybody searches my phones. If I did care there are plenty of measures that can be taken to prevent such data from being stored or even to brick your phone if they try to force their way in.

    Still one has to ask why the fuck does a phone need to retain 659 geolocation points, including 227 cell towers and 403 WiFi networks with which the cell phone had previously connected. SERIOUSLY? This is a problem in the software developing side.

     

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    Ehud Gavron (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 5:00am

    Re:

    NO there is NO software out there to brick your phone if they try to break in.

    Police State powers should not extend beyond a cursory inspection of the person's possessions. That means "item - one cellphone" and put it back down, not attempt to get data from it.

    As for the question "why the XXXX does a phone need to retain..." it's really begging too many questions. The fact is that in retaining WiFi associations and cell-tower locations a phone is able to connect quicker. As for the 659 geolocation points, some of those were likely in the EXIF data on the stored pictures.

    "This is a problem in the software developing side." No, this is not a problem at all, and tangential to the topic.

    Seems to me if you "don't really care" about the topic, don't understand the technology, and just want to whine about "the software developing side[sic]" you should go back to what you were doing before your rant.

    E

     

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  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:00am

    Re: Re:

    NO there is NO software out there to brick your phone if they try to break in.

    I meant wipe, my bad. And you are right one would have to take preemptive action to wipe before any attempt to invade.

    As for the question "why the XXXX does a phone need to retain..." it's really begging too many questions. The fact is that in retaining WiFi associations and cell-tower locations a phone is able to connect quicker. As for the 659 geolocation points, some of those were likely in the EXIF data on the stored pictures.

    I didn't know about the cell-phone towers thing but you can turn off geotagging on pictures. I know you can wipe the saved wi-fi networks but I haven't seen a way to wipe all at once or limit how long they are stored. I think this could be solved by adding such options in an easy and available way?

    Seems to me if you "don't really care" about the topic, don't understand the technology, and just want to whine about "the software developing side[sic]" you should go back to what you were doing before your rant.

    I do care about the topic but the way I wrote it seems that way.What I wouldn't care is if my own cellphone was checked but I can see many reasons why one wouldn't want. I'll agree with you that I don't understand all about technology but am I that wrong to assume you can add ways to prevent such sheer amount of data from being stored for so long? Or even provide more visibility and power over such stored data? I did never know the phones keep cell towers stored. While the developers should not have to worry about it (nobody should be having their phone searched without a warrant) isn't it feasible?

    I must apologize for the ambiguity of my comment though.

     

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  4.  
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    Richard Ahlquist, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    You may think that you can prevent this type of intrusion, but you cant. Are you familiar with "Jigs" that people use to force their phones into download mode to reflash? Then you may also like to know, at a low level, below where all the custom roms out there work, are devices like http://www.cellebrite.com/mobile-forensic-products/ufed-ultimate.html that cant flat out take a copy of the memory from your phone, all of it. Once they have that they can work through that image later. They can even access deleted data. I hate to say it but we need some legislation protecting our rights on this now.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    Yeah I actually reread my comment and I was wrong. The methods I read about previously require preemptive action and those will even write trash on top of the deleted data to make sure it's permanently destroyed. But if your phone is taken and there's physical access to it then you are pretty much screwed unless you don't store any data you find sensitive or regularly wipe some data.

    And yet you have Ehud above telling us that the phone keeps track of cell towers. I didn't even know about that and now I'm wondering if even a complete wipe would delete that data. You are right, there needs to be limitations to what law enforcement can do in this case.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    We don't need legislation, we need to enforce the 4th amendment.
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

     

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    Chilly8, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:22am

    It is also a good idea to periodically wipe your phone, so that such data can never be obtained. With Android phone, go to Privacy> Reset to factory configuration, and your phone's entire memory will be wiped, and totally unrecoverable with current forensic tools.

    The only caveat is that it will take a couple of days until the old android market app is replaced with the current Google Play app.

     

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "you can turn off geotagging on pictures"

    Your right let me see what other useful features I can turn off just in case that sometime in the next two years (lifespan of a phone) the chance occurrence I actually get pulled over for a traffic stop and that officer happens to be a douche and searches the content of my mobile phone... OR we could just say what this is, an illegal breach of security in their persons, e-papers, and effects (read: phone). The ONLY search that should be allowed by the Constitution without a warrant is... wait the Constitution didn't allow for any.

    An Aside: I do believe officers should be able to search suspects for their own safety (IE, remove knives, guns, weapons to ensure their and public safety at a scene... but unless the next Galaxy S IV comes with a built in Taser phone should be off the table.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes but think about all that data lying in the hands of a criminal that stole your phone. I do agree with the law enforcement side and the Constitution implications but as a matter of safety shouldn't you avoid leaving so much data in your phone/computer? There's remote wipe but by the time you are able to login and wipe it you may be too late. I do think rogue law enforcement is a bigger issue nowadays though...

     

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Having your phone stolen vs the data you carry is a calculated risk each person would have to evaluate on their own, living in a more rural area, street crime is relatively low, the convenience outweighs the risk. However this is completely different than the issue of law enforcement breaching the 4th amendment, the topic of the article. I may have to live in fear from street criminal beating me up and stealing my phone... I Should not have to live in fear from the police doing it, they are suppose to be on my side.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:43am

    So if you don't want to be tracked, don't have a phone!

    As someone told me when I complained about lack of privacy Facebook: the dolt's message was UNLESS YOU GIVE UP PRIVACY, JUST FORGET ABOUT ENJOYING MODERN TECH.

    It's not civilization, folks, when gov't and corporations invade privacy without limits: it's just same old tyranny with new high-tech police state. Slowly we're all being forced to go along with detailed computerized monitoring and collations.

    The gov't can also now, with I think a $25 fee to Google, get "a hell of a lot more information than law enforcement could ever reasonably achieve in the past -- especially without a warrant." But you kids don't worry about Google because just everyday fact when you grew up -- er, at least physically matured.

    BUT Mike, there's "no evidence of real harm" here! WHY are you the least bit cautionary? Beginning at last to see how affects you?




    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Where Mike's "no evidence of real harm" means he wants to let secretive mega-corporations continue to grow.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re:

    "This is a problem in the software developing side." No, this is not a problem at all, and tangential to the topic.

    Seems to me if you "don't really care" about the topic, don't understand the technology, and just want to whine about "the software developing side[sic]" you should go back to what you were doing before your rant.

    E

    Some people are born fools. Others have to go to school to learn how to be stupid. Which classy are you?

    Not all software problems appear as software problems. Some software problems actually appear as social or legal problems. Having a phone track your ever move is a definite social and legal problem.

    And as for your technical issues I guess that is what makes you so damn stupid as to believe that your technology should trump freedom, that man is a servant to the state because that how your damn technology works.

    Your technology is broken!

     

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  13.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Welcome to China..............sorry, the US.

     

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    Rapnel (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:45am

    WTF!?

    How the fuck is this even tolerated? Look at that list! Any dick with a badge can access that data!?

    Fuck Jerry Brown! and any other privacy crippling ass clown that thinks access to your personal effects - your phone - is their privilege and "right". Fuck you! Now and forevermore.

    "Can I see your phone please?" What? You mean touch it? No. "Give me your phone." Fuck you.

    Fuck.

     

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    Totally agree, The fact that THIS sentence isn't a problem, is a problem: "The whole idea that law enforcement can search your mobile phone is based on the idea that they can search items in your possession"

    "secure in their persons" I don't feel 'secure' in my person if they are allowed to search anything I have on my person. as said above, I think they need to be able to take steps to make sure they are safe, removing weapons from a suspect while they talk with them, or arrest them, but that doesn't open up the right to search anything in sight

     

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    Robert Doyle (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Quick question - how did they get the phone in the first place?

    I ask because looking at what is said these techniques require retention of the information or device to access/analyze. The search of the person doesn't allow for retention as far as I know - if they search you and see that you have a piece of paper with information on it, they don't get to take that and then photocopy it - they can see it, but not keep it as far as I understand.

    Is this incident to arrest? That would be a different matter but then they couldn't retain anything or use it afterwards unless you were actually convicted is my understanding.

    I hope someone can clarify this for me because it's a little foggy to me.

     

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  17.  
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    Nick-B, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:06am

    If you are carrying around 2 years worth of personally identifying info with you at all times, you must not CARE about your privacy, right? It's not like this information is stuff you yourself voluntarily and consciously approved of and take with you of your own choice.... right?

    The police feel they have a right to access this because we have it on us. If we had a CHOICE on if we had this info on us, then I think the police ought to be justified in accessing it. But since it is involuntarily kept, laws should be enacted.

     

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  18.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:09am

    Re:

    Not correct, all logs, old apps, cron jobs, sim data, cache's of anything stored in external memory (not internal phone though even then it's not always deleted dependent on whether it's original apps or newer) and a wide variety of other things are NEVER deleted with a factory reset. Though the RAM is deleted, though sometimes even this is backed up to certain locations - just in case by mostly unrooted (and even some rooted) Android devices.

    Basically from someone who actually analyses and extracts evidential data constantly from all types of electronic devices Anything that you do (and even more so if using an iOS device - those are information goldmines) can and will most likely be forensically imaged to be analysed at length elsewhere.

    The best security is actually android shape passwords (swipe a shape on touchscreen to get in) though even a password that is always on is the best defence under android devices. iOS devices - well professionally I love them, on a personal level, I try to steer everyone I know away from them

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re:

    Just a note.. I operate in a jurisdiction that specifically does not allow LEO's to do this sort of thing without specific warrant(s) for each device. Though warrants if reasonable suspicion is given are easily obtained though bound by due process then too.

    This allows a few things that seemingly could be open to challenge in a court with the USA current methodology, namely chain of custody (authenticity) and reliability.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    I didn't even know about that and now I'm wondering if even a complete wipe would delete that data.

    As I state below in another comment, a reset will not delete that data and basically unless you actually root the phone and delete everything including the OS on the phones internal memory (and this can only really occur in Android devices) then no it will never be deleted.

    And I wont tell you how much more info (including gps geo-locations for more than a few days) that cell/mobile enabled iOS devices store. Even if GPS etc is disabled (or could be)

    If you need to keep data with you my best advice would be to use an actual USB stick v2.0 is only required (v3.0 USB is stupidity on USB sticks under 128Gig) and encrypt the data using something like TrueCrypt (Not the encryption tools you get from the manufacturers) that way your personal data, photos, etc can still be accessed if you require (you could also plug it into a phone using a patch cable) but its very secure unless your silly enough to give the password without a court order.

     

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  21.  
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    Jesus, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re:

    Two things.

    One, its always possible to brick your phone. In the case of most phones, it probably would take special hardware and software that most people don't have. But it's always *possible*. Also, I'm assuming just putting my iphone into restore mode is going to prevent them from accessing my data. Could be wrong tho.

    Second, 400+ wifi points? 220+ cell towers? There aren't nearly that many cell phone towers near where I live. Probably like a dozen that my phone uses in the immediate area. I guess if he traveled a lot he could have use 200+ towers, but that doesn't change the fact that its highly unlikely that the phone has connected to 400 different wifi networks. That's a monster feat. Not impossible, just very unlikely. My phone has likely connected to around 20-30 different wifi networks. Where do you even find 400 different open networks, or know that many wifi passwords?

     

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    limbodog, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:28am

    I wonder if there'd be a market for...

    A cell phone case with a physical lock on it. Something simple enough that you can easily open it yourself, like a bike lock, but one that'd prevent police from plugging in the data recorder without your permission...

     

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  23.  
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    Michael, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    This is specifically referring to an arrest.

    However, it is becoming more and more apparent that the police can come up with a reason to arrest anyone at pretty much any time.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    'Bricking' your phone is not going to stop whatever is already on there from being recovered, it just means that it cannot be accessed in the way that would allow it to be used normally. Turning a phone on and reading through the data is NOT how a phone is analysed.

    And 'restore/reset won't do anything to external memroy cache's and logs or the internal logs (as I explain below) either. Sorry

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    I thought the whole idea was law enforcement was supposed to be able to figure out what physical items you have on you to verify if you have a gun, are a threat, etc rather than do a full search to find anything incriminating. My understanding was that via the 4th amendment any search to find something incriminating required a warrant.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh and the 'wifi points' are Wifi point of presences, or they are WIFI systems that your phone has noticed are visible in it's travels. Passworded or open-access doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter on whether you have connected to them, tried to, or been unaware of them existing. Your phone logs them all down if it senses them. Which if analysed properly could lead to a nice pattern of movement if they are known locations (or better still geolocated when logged).

    So where were you on the night of the xxxx... hmmm your WIFI logs state different.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:43am

    Re: I wonder if there'd be a market for...

    Hint: Turn bluetooth off too! but otherwise, not a bad idea.. though highly impractical too

    Also: "please open that case sir we have a reasonable suspicion based on previous activity in the area that there have been drug transactions and we would like to ascertain that there are currently no illegal substances nor llegal devices within the locked container?".. ie: make it fully transparent to mitigate this response

     

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  28.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    "NO there is NO software out there to brick your phone if they try to break in." - Most phones have the ability to wipe themselves after so many bad log-in attempts.


    Woke up on the angry side of the bed today?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Now here is where I see the problem. If you carry with you, a lockbox, containing all this information on paper, they would not be allowed to open it without permission or a warrant. A phone is a freaking digital lockbox! They still need tools to open it. The locks in a phone is encryptions and passwords, which they can ignore with their search!
    How the heck could they not see this when they were deciding this issue.
    It makes me sick! Mostly because they seem to think there are no bad policemen who will ever misuse this since they are, you know.... police. There are asshats in all professions and in all countries. Please stop pretending that it isn't so.

     

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  30.  
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    Pixelation, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re:

    From the article...
    "In this particular case, ICE obtained a warrant to search the house, and seized the iPhone during that search. They then obtained a second, separate warrant based on probable cause before conducting a detailed search of the phone. "

    Not quite a seizure during a routine traffic stop...

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Android phones record the GPS coordinates and SSID of every single WiFi access point that they happen to notice as you drive or walk around town. This information is forwarded on to Google. It is exactly the same information that Google Street View was criticized for collecting. I suspect that iPhones do the same thing.
    Odd that now that it is your phone doing it, rather that a car with strange gadgets on the roof, no one seems to care.

     

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  32.  
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    The Real Michael, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    Most of the technology incorporated into mobile phones was created with the intent that people 'spy on themselves,' so to speak, like carrying around a personal log of your private activity.

    That's why I'll never own one.

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:17am

    The border search issue is similar.

    This is similar to the border search issue, where once you carried only things you specifically decided to take, and a limited number of things, but now your digital data in mobile devices comes along by default unless you specifically decide to exclude an item, and may include your whole history.

    Legislation should be proposed that addresses both versions of this issue by excluding the data in devices from summary searches of a person or vehicle in every situation otherwise permitting such searches.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly, though the sending to Google part can actually be switched off by stopping data sych.

    And yes iOS devices save a lot more and for a lot lot longer

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:27am

    Re:

    A better idea would be a multiple step one.

    As someone who regularly tinkers with Android devices, I would suggest people interested in completely erasing info on their phone do the following:

    Install either AeGis or Cerberus to their phones. Both allow you to remotely wipe your phone. (The former through SMS messages sent to it, the latter from a web interface or through SMS messages.)

    Also, install a Custom Recovery (either ClockworkMod Recovery or TWRP). The reason for this is that it will allow you to boot into this custom recovery where you can manually wipe your phone. By which I mean, wipe it entirely. (So be careful using this, if you don't have a ROM zip file to flash afterwards you won't be able to do much with your phone besides turn it off and turn it on to boot into the recovery.)

    The process for wiping manually is simple, boot into the custom recovery and select Wipe Data/Factory Reset. That's it, your entire phone will be wipe. Then, as is standard for "full wipe" standards (recommended when installing any new ROMs), select Wipe Cache. After which, you can go into Advanced and then select Wipe Dalvik Cache. (Usually this is done with just Wipe Cache, but it never hurts to go in and do this one in addition to Wipe Cache).

    Once you've done all that, your phone will have literally nothing on it. (Keeping in mind that anything stored on the micro SD card or "SD card", and the reason I put that in quotes is because some phones have flash memory built in accessible as the "SD card" in lieu of having an actual micro SD card slot for use, WILL still remain on your phone.)

    Now, in addition to that, you can simply get a Wipe All zip (of which there are many, and which needs to be tailored to your specific Android device) and just flash that in recovery. To do so you would just go into Install zip from SD card and then Select zip from SD card and locate the zip you wish to flash. (Per what I mentioned above about anything on the SD card's remaining intact, keep in mind there are flashable zips that WILL wipe everything including what's on your SD card. You just have to look for them and make sure it does or doesn't specifically wipe the SD card.)

    Any of these would be a good idea for those wanting to keep data on their phones from falling into someone else's hands. If anyone needs specific information or links to the custom recoveries/flashable zips for a particular device or wants additional information regarding rooting/installing custom recoveries/etc just let me know. Try and be specific regarding your device model and current version of Android on it (also if you're rooted or not). I'm more than happy to help.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well G Thompson pretty much covered any talking points I'd have written myself, but I'd like to add to this, most phones do have the ability to wipe themselves after multiple failed error attempts to login, but that doesn't delete everything on the phone.

    Regarding what someone else wrote about software to brick phones when someone attempts to break in. There is nothing like that. Of course, there is plenty of software that allows you to brick your phones normally, while in the process of tinkering, if you're not careful/knowledgeable about what you're doing. I've dealt with more than my fair share of "I fucked up my phone" type calls before (obviously made from another phone).

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re:

    Its nice to know there are ways to wipe your phone but your not going to be able to wipe it when your in handcuffs and the cop has the phone in his hands looking though it. Its also not really realistic to whip your phone on a regular basis i mean are you really going to go though that hassle of wiping it and retoring what you want to keep even day

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " Its also not really realistic to whip your phone on a regular basis i mean are you really going to go though that hassle of wiping it and retoring what you want to keep even day"

    Actually, it is realistic if you enjoy tinkering with your device the way a surprisingly large amount of people do. Check out www.xda-developers.com for proof of that.

    Additionally, doing so and restoring your phone is in no way even remotely a hassle. The wiping process can be handled by a zip. Two clicks and you're done. Installing a custom ROM, ditto. Restoring your data (through the use of something like Titanium either once booted or with an "update.zip" in recovery is either a one-click batch restore process once booted, or two clicks to flash the zip file) is as easy and painless as can be.

    As far as deleting your info once in cuffs, as long as your phone has a lock screen (either PIN or gesture based) you'll be perfectly fine. Assuming you'll use your phone call to call someone you know, who is more than likely someone you trust, you can ask them to remotely wipe your phone on your behalf. (The two programs I listed above allow for trusted parties to do so when provided with the proper code either before hand or after the fact. Both will accept text message directions to perform any of a number of features from wiping to locking to encrypting data. Only Cerberus though has the web interface, although I believe that might come to AeGis soon.)

    I personally don't wipe/flash a ROM every few minutes or hours or day like some, but it's honestly a painless and incredibly easy process once you've done it enough to feel comfortable with it. First timers always take awhile and feel nervous, as they should since one mistake can wipe or even brick your phone if you're not careful or don't know what you're doing/flashing or wiping whatever comes your way, but things have reached a point where even doing a wipe/flash is one click. There are literally apps out there either available directly on your phone or for your computer that will do EVERYTHING for you with a few button presses or mouse clicks.

    The best and most important thing in mobile security is making sure your phone has some kind of security enable to prevent easy entry. Like I said, a lock screen requiring either a pin number (preferably of more than four digits) or gesture based one are exactly what all people should have on their phones.

     

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  39.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks for the tip on the sync part.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That is just the point. We shouldn't have to wipe our phones to be sure of a little privacy. We pretty much all agree that it is a basic human right and this right should extend to our computers/phones. It really can't be true that in order to keep documents, pictures, video etc. safe that we have to print it out and put it in our house.
    Our phone content is just as much private property and should require a search warrant from a judge to go through.
    In the end this should not even be a debate in a "free" country, because anyone who says different is wrong plain and simple; unless they want to make police able to search houses at will, as well.

     

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  41.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But it's completely possible to use a replacement lock screen that initiates a wipe when a specific unlock code is used. You then give that code to the cops when they ask.

    You can also initiate a complete wipe when USB is connected without unlocking the screen first, or on other triggers or combination of triggers you choose (such as moving the phone in a specific way). Tasker FTW!

     

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  42.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Most of the abuses of law seem based on the (completely ridiculous) “intent of the law” doctrine where one can do just about anything they want if you come up with some twisted reasoning of a loosely written law. These shadowy justifications vaporize when examined under public scrutiny so they are hidden or kept top secret. For this to work it needs complicit elected officials of which Jerry Brown seems to fit.

    I think if we can find a way to outlaw the use of this “intent of law” doctrine it would go a long way to corralling runaway government interpretations of giving license to violate even the most basic of right to privacy. Your phone data especially ones text messages and other sensitive private information should be 100% completely covered by constitutional rights.

    It pains me to even think that new law must be legislated to reclaim stolen freedoms and after all that public lobbying it was vetoed by the CA governor. I wonder if there would be enough support to override the veto in the Senate? Ya gotta be proud of the California House and Senate though they did their job well. (haven't read the bill so will give them credit)

    And what about the police themselves? Why does the ACLU have to do detective work to discover what and how these violations occur? Why are normal officers acting like a secret police? Just observing the obvious brings up so many unanswered questions. Only well written law and carefully chosen elected officials will hobble rampant abuse.

    Its embarrassing that the past 40 years of government has ignored the constitution both in poorly written law and shoddy enforcement practices. More shameful is the weak justice system unable to weed out unconstitutional laws.

    It would be nice to to be able to program a phone so it would not keep the geolocation data and to prevent remote updates from happening. The wipe out of all data when entering a code would be nice too. This code would be given to the party doing the unwanted search and poof... all is gone.

    I don't think I want a smartphone. Google is now banned from my machine.

     

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  43.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Few people cared that Google was doing it with their cars, and only a few more cared when they found out that they were reading the in-the-clear data being transmitted. If Google had only ever recorded the location of wifi access points there would never have been any kerfuffle.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re:

    There's a major piece of software that will brick your phone if you try to abuse it (or actually use it)...its called Windows 8 :)

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Think of it as a second brain, but one that we fully understand and can peek inside.

    This is what mobile phones are today, they store and process or help process a lot of information and to do that they need to be there with you, they also are starting to get a lot of sensors, like barometric sensors(that help with GPS), light sensors, even heat sensors.

    Phones are a pre act to when we are able to decode the human code, those electrical impulses that run through ours bodies are the exact same type of info, is just they are not an attachment.

     

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  46.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable."

    Seems pretty clear to me we expect privacy in the contents of our phones. I hope this gets to the Supreme Court so they can put a stop to it (though I'm not confident they would).

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    I guarantee you they won't get a thing from mine.

    I don't have a mobile phone.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:20pm

    Privacy Phones

    Maybe it's time for someone to bring out private smart phones... I would think that there would be a huge market for such a thing.
    I'm not smart enough to know if it's even possible, but I'd buy one!
    Imagine...making a phone call that's private.

     

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  49.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 6:03am

    Re: I wonder if there'd be a market for...

    I think someone should make an app that restores the phone to default if a specific security pin/pattern is entered. So, I would have a pin to unlock my phone, and another one to wipe it.

    Cop asks for the phone, wipe it quickly before handing it over. It probably wouldn't stop an in depth search of the phone hardware, but I bet it would stop their little hacking tool.

     

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  50.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 6:05am

    Re: I guarantee you they won't get a thing from mine.

    You can further thwart the police by not having a house to search, by living on the streets. That'll show them.

    Hint: you're missing the point, old timer.

     

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  51.  
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    TimK (profile), Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 11:36am

    I'll tell you what the police can suck.....

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: I guarantee you they won't get a thing from mine.

    Having a house is not the same as carrying around what is essentially a tracking device.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    bob the builder, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    Well...

    You can always brick your phone with ferric chloride- even if it's running iOS. ;)

    But, on a more serious note, the two main issues (with cell phones) as I see them are:

    A)
    There are idiots in technology who feel that just because remembering a cell tower makes connecting faster, the cell tower should be remembered. They feel that, in every case, a technical understanding is necessary to reach an ethical conclusion, despite the fact that sometimes the two are entirely unrelated.

    I'm a computer engineer. I write code. Real code. Not just squishy object-oriented nonsense that allows you to forget about voltages and relativity. However, I'm also aware that, if something I'm developing must choose between collecting personal information (time + location information I consider to be quite personal) or not, either the user should be informed this can be done in a readable manner (i.e. not in the Terms and Conditions), and allowed optionally (and revocably) to opt in, or the information should simply be silently not collected.

    ""This is a problem in the software developing side." No, this is not a problem at all, and tangential to the topic.

    Seems to me if you ... don't understand the technology ... you should go back to what you were doing before your rant."

    Seems to me, if you don't understand why that *is* a problem, you should stay away from the development of any and all technology.

    ...And the second problem...

    B)
    Users aren't told about this. They aren't given a choice. I've asked normal, non-technical people I know whether they're aware that, for example, many websites send usernames and passwords in a way that can easily be read by anyone else on the network. No one told them, and they didn't even know enough about it to realize that warranted checking.

    Frankly, they shouldn't need to go out of their way to find out. When I go to a medical practitioner, I shouldn't need to know their job, and carefully review everything they do, to feel safe they aren't doing something unethical.

    If they're going to prescribe me a medication, they should tell me the side effects. Of course, I'll look them up myself before taking the thing, but I shouldn't need to understand precisely how the drug works. Similarly, technologists should not expect everyone else to know our jobs; we should be responsible human beings.

    If collecting information can speed things up, we should make sure we're only collecting the information of people who have expressed they would prefer speed over privacy, because if the pressure to be ethical doesn't come from within the industry itself, nothing will change.

    When you know enough about a subject to understand when something is being done unethically, you are in a unique position, and it is your duty to object.

     

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  54.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 8th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    Re: Well...

    I write code. Real code. Not just squishy object-oriented nonsense that allows you to forget about voltages and relativity.

    Huh, didn't realize object oriented software isn't real code.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    curious, Mar 12th, 2013 @ 2:41am

    What if your phone is encrypted? Can the data still be sucked out?

     

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  56.  
    icon
    Kikoi kik (profile), Apr 14th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    Ok so I reset my phone and I have the galaxy s3 and I was just wondering if the cops can still get any text or phone calls off it by. Using the tech people?please help its kind of a big deal

     

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  57.  
    icon
    Kikoi kik (profile), Apr 14th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    Ok so I reset my phone and the cops now have it so can they get all the text off of it even tho I reset it? I have the galaxy s3

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Apr 14th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re:

    Ok so I reset my phone and I have the galaxy s3 and I was just wondering if the cops can still get any text or phone calls off it by.

    If they can get a warrant for it, they can get the texts from your carrier, they don't need the phone.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2013 @ 6:20pm

    One way of beating the tech police is finding a way to change the plug lol. Make it so they can't plug in their machine. Probably to hard to do though.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    gracious, Apr 28th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    Re:privacy

    Is the a way that the police can install firmware without it being detected?
    would love some feed back on this please.
    Thank you
    Gracious

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    sonal chavan, May 30th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    want to whether on which time mobile was on or off can we get details?

    i have 1 query that incase if in am in such trouble & i want to proof that the my mobile was switched of on particular XYZ on time so can it be track ? if yes then how can we get the information & from where can we get the information & what id the procedure to get the information please reply somebody it is really important.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    sonakshi (profile), May 30th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    i have 1 query can i ask ? if i need to take out whether my mobile was switched oiff or swtiched on on particular time can i get this details , if ye then from where ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    sonakshi (profile), May 30th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re:privacy

    i have 1 query can i ask ? if i need to take out whether my mobile was switched oiff or swtiched on on particular time can i get this details , if ye then from where ? please anybody reply it is really urgen & improtant,someone is in trouble help people

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    sonakshi (profile), May 30th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re:privacy

    i have 1 query can i ask ? if i need to take out whether my mobile was switched oiff or swtiched on on particular time can i get this details , if ye then from where ? please anybody reply it is really urgen & improtant,someone is in trouble help people

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Kevin (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:28pm

    Is it possible to find out exactly where someone was when they made a call from their mobile phone 2 weeks ago?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 10:04pm

    Re:

    Is it possible to find out exactly where someone was when they made a call from their mobile phone 2 weeks ago?

    Depending on what you mean by "exactly", yes. The phone company will at least know what cell the caller was using. If they're in range of other transceivers, their position can be determined more exactly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    icon
    Nosherwan (profile), Sep 17th, 2013 @ 12:46am

    iPhone 5s/5c recovery software

    To get iPhone 5s/5c recovery software, please follow the link

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Tae, Oct 4th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re:hellllp

    I need to know how to go through and see everything on my phone that's been deleted and viewed as far as pictures,websites,emails texts phone calls ect. Thank u

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    AReyX, Oct 7th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Privacy thru Slavery

    We should disarm the police and only allow them rubber bullets and tazers. The civilians have the right to keep and bear arms, not the cops. Also, cops should need a warrant to obtain cell info, which isn't difficult with the corrupt municipal judges everywhere. Just my take to control big brother.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Monica, Oct 16th, 2013 @ 1:27am

    The scariest one is the geolocation history. That can track a person for an extensive time range. But that information can be obtained directly from your carrier anyway. Everything else is just useless information if one is taking care of keeping their phone clean.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Ms. Moxa, Oct 19th, 2013 @ 11:33pm

    go bk 2 wat u were doin b4 ur rant

    lol... brilliantly explained... loved it. it literally made me laugh out loud. thank you

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    HerpMahDerp, Oct 27th, 2013 @ 3:44pm

    Cant nuke your nand from the device. Cleaning would be more like completely corrupting every nand cell on the device... James Bond ish.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Cat, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 12:30am

    Put me back in my bag

    Im not too good at working smartphones... I can barely work a dumbphone. ;P

    They already took mine, due to my half assed suicide attempt this year. Sure, they gave it back but...
    Why? Just....why? No damn sense at'all..
    But like they say, "curiosity killed the cat"..well ...after 9 tries. Guess curiosity doesn't have very good aim or trapping skills.

    I'm secure in my person. It's these other persons that get to me sometimes.

    Shaking my head tsk tsk
    Merry Christmas
    God Bless Us Everyone

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    luz Valenzuela, Nov 24th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Sorry but thats not true.

    I need help finding mydigital memory in the phone ...can u help

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    jamon Scott, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 4:13pm

    help

    I want my apple iPhone text messages in call log in phonebook in my phone my number is 1-630-999-5365 send me everything I just asked for to my email address

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    saffron, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:21pm

    WHAT "PRIVACY"?

    Listen-I know full well that ANYONE @ ANYTIME can access my info! I'm not perfect-my family isn't perfect. NO ONE'S IS! I've always said "EVERYONE has shit-just SOME are better @ HIDING than others-and others just DON'T GIVE a shit-cuz they're SMART enough to kno it's USELESS! Look @ ur neighbors-betcha the ones who look the MOST respectable are the WORST(they expend TONS of energy trying to hide it) As for us-don't care what hypocrites think of us-cuz I have stuff on them that would SHOCK this town! We ARE good people-but we have many problems-but OUR family sticks together.I have very successful kids & one in crisis.We're STILL there for each other(which is more than I can say for the phony lying gossips whose family dynamics are in total shambles! Our life? Open book! So what! People learn what they want if they look.No such thing as privacy in this day &age.Funny how the "hiders" actually think they're stuff is private tho!

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    saffron blu, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:41pm

    police invading MY phone?!?

    Don't LIKE it-cuz MOST cops nowadays are just on a POWER TRIP & care NOTHING about the LAW! You have KIDS(cops) w/the attitude of"I carry a GUN-I have POWER over you-I can do ANYTHING I WANT cuz I'M a COP"! NOTHING like police of old-who actually HAD HONOR & INTEGRETY! Search MY PHONE? SO WHAT? You'll MAYBE get some GOSSIP(family problems)-but as far as ILLEGAL activity?-look ELSEWHERE-cuz I've never even had so much as a TICKET! Police brutality is RAMPANT! They BEAT people BEFORE they know the TRUTH! People LIE-cops believe it & act on their own & know some can't sue cuz of no means.Happened to my son-had a whore girlfriend who tried to pass kids as his-but weren't.She jumped on him & he threw her off.(he was tryin to get away & she refused to let up) S he hit her head-cops beat the shit outta him w/2x4's in garage! He did NOTHING to her! Crazy bitch w/crazy family! (LONG STORY)! We tried to prosecute.(guess she blew all the right people) Anyway-HAVE AT IT on my phone! I've NOTHING to hide! Bet I can get into YOUR phone TOO! HOW INNOCENT ARE YOU?! #HYPOCRITICAL COPS!

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    saffron blu, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 7:00pm

    Response to: Chilly8 on Mar 1st, 2013 @ 6:22am

    Hope you still keep up on this. My question to you is; of one DOES this, will ALL of the apps installed, ALL photos, vids, ect, be erased as well? I've nothing ILLEGAL to hide, just rants that I send certain family members when I'm pissed off.I'm not tech saavy AT all, so any info you can share would be greatly appreciated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Kendall, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    If you don't care if anybody searches your phones why don't you just post all your info on here? Any type of person can get a badge, get your address, SS#, pics of you and messages this way. Do you trust everyone with a badge?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 4:57pm

    hi I have to prove that my daughter has lived with me for the last 3 years im in a coustody battle with her mom. She has a verizon I phone and if I can prove she has been using the tower by my house it will prove she was her when using her phone and I will win in court please help I owe $10000 in att fees already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 6:25pm

    hi I have to prove that my daughter has lived with me for the last 3 years im in a coustody battle with her mom. She has a verizon I phone and if I can prove she has been using the tower by my house it will prove she was hear when using her phone and I will win in court please help I owe $10000 in att fees already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 6:36pm

    Response to: Ninja on Mar 1st, 2013 @ 4:03am

    Wow lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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