It's a case of police work catching up with consumer electronics. Consumers may be familiar with a device that cell-phone providers use to copy an address book from an old phone to a new one. Now police have a "forensic" version of the device that uncovers scientific evidence for court cases by copying a lot more than address books.
The $4,000 device from Israeli firm Cellebrite, called the UFED (universal forensic extraction device), can read and copy a cell phone's video, photos, text messages, call history and personal audio recordings. Minneapolis police upgraded this year from the firm's consumer-grade device to the forensic one.
The UFED can read data from more than 1,400 cell-phone models, said Jason Rogers, Cellebrite's vice president of sales in Franklin Lakes, N.J. The firm has sold 3,500 of the units to law enforcement agencies since it was introduced 11 months ago, he said.
"You can extract the data in two to three minutes, and it's simple to use," Rogers said. "Just plug it into the cell phone."
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