Official police video shows phone-unlocking Cellebrite computer in action

Official police video shows phone-unlocking Cellebrite computer in action
Phone encryption in the context of law enforcement has always been a testy subject, and just weeks ago, tensions rose further as Apple apparently refused to unlock a suspect’s iPhones. Evidently, the FBI has sought other options, such as technology developed by Israeli firm Cellebrite, which claims it can unlock even the most recent iPhones.

Across the Atlantic, Police Scotland officially announced that they would start using the firm’s technology as well, introducing the so-called ‘cyber kiosks’ and the policies governing their usage in a new police video. The video shows the Cellebrite computer system in action, allowing an officer to easily extract encrypted data from a device.

Due to the obvious privacy issues concerning such a device, the video also explains how and when the device will be used. Police Scotland states that the device will not access all data in every case; rather, only a small set of relevant data will be handled. In theory, this should actually decrease the amount of time the victim or suspect’s phone spends in police hands.

The video also stresses that a number of standardized guidelines and procedures are in place to prevent the misuse of such technology. In particular, the machine will log who accessed what device when and for how long, which should mitigate some concerns as well.

While the video doesn’t explicitly show an iPhone being unlocked (the demo device used was actually a Redmi handset), the computer should definitely have the capability, based on Cellebrite’s claims. Hopefully, the proper use of the firm’s devices will help support law enforcement, safety, and convenience for all.

Check out the Police Scotland video below:

FEATURED VIDEO

7 Comments

5. foldablephone

Posts: 86; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Once again, Phone Arena is incorrect. The only way this can unlock recent iPhones (iOS 13) is if the USB unlock is not set correctly. Most people have this set up security automatically hence why Apple is still being asked to unlock. iOS 13 is still safe. Please do research next time.

6. Eugene_Jeong

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 08, 2019

That does appear to be the case based on Apple's claims, but, as this and previous articles have mentioned, Cellebrite claims otherwise following a recent update to their devices- which happened after the Apple-FBI spat began. I have never used a Cellebrite computer, so I can't know firsthand, which is why I wrote ".. based on Cellebrite's claims" in the section you referred to.

7. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2577; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

That's not entirely correct. Cellebrite is using a chipset exploit known as "Checkm8" to get into iPhones that are of the X generation and earlier. It's a chipset exploit that seemingly cannot be patched using software. However, it should be noted that the exploit affects up to iPhone X devices. Those of the iPhone XS and 11 generations do not have this exploit and are safe.

4. mariosraptor

Posts: 195; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

I almost cried laughing at "We will protect the confidentiality of your data". Lol

3. cevon3239

Posts: 217; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

The video isn't showing anything anything They are using some generic phone that is likely already unlocked and just viewing some data they just out on it. Who you think is gonna have a bunch of photos of BMW's? You think they gonna show an actual real device being hacked? Not hardly!

2. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Like I said, they can access any phone

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