Often we get inquiries about cellular forensics and the person calling doesn’t know what they are really looking to get. Some callers think all cellular forensics entails is getting records from the cell phone service providers.
Let’s clear up some of this confusion.
There is a big difference between cell phone service carrier records and what a cell phone forensics expert does.
The carrier just provides date, time, the length of call or number of text messages. There is a very specific legal process for cell records. One of the most immediate steps we take as investigators is to secure a preservation letter requesting that the carrier preserve the cell records because a court order is coming. With the amount of information accumulated by cell phone service providers, it all is not archived and stored routinely.
What makes this a difficult process to navigate is that each carrier is unique in their legal processes and provides different information.
This is the type of information that is used in cell tower triangulation and in the investigative techniques involving mapping towers.
It is through this sort of new generation investigative technique that cell phone forensics have helped to do things like capture escaped convicts. (In fact, that is just the case in the last 12 criminals International Investigators personnel have located and returned to prison!)
A cellular forensics team, however, can actually extract the content of texts and emails. They can provide exact transcription of what the user has communicated. Think if the data was extracted from both the sender and the receiver. The exact conversation is recreated and there is no refuting what was said – what the exact words were that were used.
The difference between the information a service carrier provides and that which a cellular forensics expert provides is the difference between just knowing a message was sent and knowing what the message actually said. Each on its own is useful. Together, they are powerful.
-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators