Because of a waiver that the pimp signed as part of the terms of his parole, Dears had given up his fourth amendment rights which would have allowed the long arm of the law to search the phone as soon as it was discovered. But because the phone was locked (which was a violation of his parole) a warrant was required. The warrant was obtained by the good guys and the phone was shipped off to the famous FBI lab where a small pubic hair can be used to determine the identity of bank robbers and determine what they ate for breakfast that morning (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration). The world famous FBI lab ran into a snag. They could not figure out the pattern needed to unlock the phone. Twenty combinations were tried and twenty times the FBI was shot down (pun not intended) until the infamous password prompt showed up on the screen.
Next stop was getting a subpoena to Google to get access to Dears’ Google account. The information that the FBI was looking for included the subscriber’s name, address, Social Security number, account login and password; email and personal contact lists on Dears' cell phone; times and duration for every website visited; text messages sent and received from the phone including video and picture messages; all email and IM accounts on the handset; verbal and written instructions for overriding the pattern lock on the phone; All search terms, Internet history, and GPS data that stored for the handset by Google.
If you're trying to keep prying eyes out of your Android handset, it seems that setting up a pattern lock might be the way to do it. If the FBI, with all of its crime solving abilities, can't figure out a simple pattern, we would imagine that the information stored in your phone would be safe from your spouse, kids, IRS, nosy friends, and the FBI.
source: ArsTechnica via Phandroid