iPhones store more information than users may realize and some of it could be used against you if you’re ever charged with a crime. Law enforcement officials have long used phone records, and more recently, emails and text messages to help solve crimes. Now a field of forensic study is emerging that deals with iPhones specifically, targeting GPS data, brower history and other potentially incriminating information.
“Very, very few people have any idea how to actually remove data from their phones,” says Sam Brothers, a cellphone forensic researcher with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection who teaches investigators how to retrieve iPhone data.
According to Jonathan Zdziarski, Blackberry devices are harder to pull data from. Data that iPhone store, include:
- screen shots after mapping applications are closed
- geo tags and identifying information with photos posted online
- user brower history
Adam Gershowitz, a profession at the University of Houston Law Center, says the new technology brings concerns about whether investigators have the right to search someone’s iPhone. So far, the courts have treated it as a within reach container, such as a glove box or cigarette pack.
We’ll see how the courts decide to handle. Currently, warrantless searching of cellphone data is being challenged in the Ohio Supreme Court.