Unlocking news: We decrypt those cryptic headlines about Scottish cops bypassing smartphone encryption

www.theregister.co.uk | 1/17/2020 | Staff
Click For Photo: https://regmedia.co.uk/2020/01/17/youtube_scottish_police_vid_cellebrite.jpg

Vid Police Scotland to roll out encryption bypass technology, as one publication reported this week, causing some Register readers to silently mouth: what the ****?

With all the brouhaha over the FBI, like a broken record, once again demanding Apple backdoor its iPhone security, and tech companies under pressure to weaken their cryptography, how has the Scottish plod sidestepped all this and bypassed encryption?

World - Powers

What magic do they possess that world powers do not, as some of you asked us.

It's pretty simple: the force is using bog-standard Cellebrite gear that, typically, plugs into smartphones via USB and attempts to forcibly unlock the handsets, allowing their encrypted contents to be decrypted and examined by investigators.

Kit - €? - Cops - Businesses - Spies

This is widely used kit – sold to cops, businesses and spies around the world – and it will be set up in various police stations across Scotland. We're told selected officers will use the gear, when possible, to leaf through physically seized devices to see if the phones' data is relevant to specific investigations, and whether it's worth sending them off to a proper lab to extract the contents.

It's a controversial move here in the UK, in that politicians, worried about the legality of it all, previously pumped the brakes on the tech deployment – which was scheduled for mid-2018 and is only now actually happening.

What's going on?

Police Scotland is set to install 41 of what it refers to as "Cyber Kiosks" in stations around the country. The computers, reportedly costing £370,000 in total, will be used to attempt to view data from locked iOS and Android handsets in the course of criminal investigations.

Technology - Officers - Devices - Information - Value

"The technology allows specially trained officers to triage mobile devices to determine if they contain information which may be of value to a police investigation or incident," the Scottish cops say of the program.

"This will...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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