In today’s world, there are many technological advances that previous generations could not even dream of being possible. As the world of technology has advanced, so has the world of forensics. Advancements in technology have also allowed advancements in gathering evidence and processing that evidence for use in criminal cases. Cell phones are one such piece of technology that is used all over the world as a source of criminal evidence.
What Kind of Data Is Used as Evidence?
Cell phones — especially smartphones — gather, process, and store all kinds of data. From the text messages you send and receive, the photos you share, or the websites you visit, almost everything you do on your phone is stored and can be retrieved, even if you have deleted it. Some common types of data that can be retrieved from cell phones include:
- Text message records, including both SMS messages and multimedia messages
- Call records
- Data that has been downloaded or used on the device
- Cellular tower information and GPS location data
- Internet browsing history
- Email content
How Do Police Gather This Evidence?
Currently, there is quite a bit of difference as to how cell phone records can be accessed from state to state. Only a handful of states require a warrant to obtain cell phone data — and Connecticut is not one of them. Many have argued that obtaining such personal and revealing information from a cell phone without a warrant for that information violates the rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures.
How Reliable Is Cell Phone Data?
The reliability of cell phone data is also an issue when it comes to using it in court. Officials have stated that the use of cell phone tower evidence is not reliable information when it is used to determine the location of a person at a specific point in time. Many think that a cell phone connects with the cell phone tower that is physically nearest to a person’s location, when in reality, a device typically connects with the tower that has the clearest signal, which is not always the closest tower. Sometimes, a cell phone can connect with a tower that is more than 20 miles away from a person’s physical location.
Recently in Denmark, law enforcement officials have stated that they will be reviewing more than 10,000 court verdicts because of errors in cell phone tracking data. The worry is that some of the verdicts that used this type of evidence were incorrect or unfair verdicts based on inaccurate cell phone location data. This has also been a concern that has been expressed in Connecticut and across the country.
A Knowledgeable Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Assist You With Your Case
Many people who are involved in the criminal justice process do not understand enough about cell phone data to make accurate decisions on whether or not cell-phone-based evidence is admissible in court. If you have been accused of a crime based on information from your cell phone, you should call a Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you fight the use of cell phone evidence in your case or pursue an appeal for a verdict that used cell phone evidence. Contact us at 860-290-8690 to arrange a free consultation.