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February 4, 2009 > New technology helps solve crimes

New technology helps solve crimes

By Mai El-Sadany
Photos By Courtesy of CelleBrite

In movies and on television shows, "it's always computer forensics that is used to solve crimes. What people are slowly realizing is that criminals are using cell phones a lot more than they use computers," says Adi Ofrat, Chief Executive Officer of Cellebrite USA. Ofrat's words begin to explain the new phenomenon of police departments and government branches using cell phone data to solve crimes and even cases of terrorism.

First established in 1999, Cellebrite began as a business that produced software designed to transfer information from one phone to another. It eventually grew to produce content transfer devices and data management software applications that would become the choice of numerous carriers around the globe.

Later in its development, Cellebrite received a number of requests and grants from high level government branches to produce software that would successfully extract information from cell phones to be used as crime evidence in court. The company took on the challenge and studied forensics extensively to finally produce the technology to extract the wanted information. Today, the technology is used by a variety of different clients, from law enforcement departments to district attorney offices to Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alongside its new technology, Cellebrite continues to produce its everyday data transfer applications for cell phone carriers.

About the new technology, Ofrat says, "There's no doubt that it has been very effective. We have thousands of clients, from small police departments in the towns of the Midwest to larger cities in states like California." Ofrat also adds that because technology continues to advance, Cellebrite never stops developing its software either. "Criminals are using new technology to its fullest extent, but Cellebrite has been able to curb their abuses."

Speaking more about the accuracy of the technology, Ofrat insists that the software is objective. He says, "The information in the phone cannot be modified or abused. Someone can't change the data or add to it. You can't convict someone of something they didn't do. It's definitely not like planting a gun."

The wide-ranging and developing technology has even been used in the Tri-City region's Fremont Police Department. Ken Bryant, a detective who works with the department, says, "We've used the Cellebrite application in cases from fraud to homicide. For each case, we're basically looking for contacts, texts, or any other details on crime activity." The department uses a number of tools to solve these crimes, with Cellebrite being one of them. About the technology, Bryant says, "There's a success rate of around 80-90% depending on the phone."

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