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Cellebrite Is Developing Roadside Police 'Textalyzer' Device (arstechnica.com) 188

An anonymous reader writes: Cellebrite, the company many believe helped the FBI crack into the iPhone 5c belonging to a San Bernardino terrorist, is developing a roadside "textalyzer" device to help law enforcement determine whether someone involved in a motor vehicle accident was unlawfully driving while distracted. As reported from Ars Technica: "Under the first-of-its-kind legislation proposed in New York, drivers involved in accidents would have to submit their phone to roadside testing from a textalyzer to determine whether the driver was using a mobile phone ahead of a crash." The textalyzer allegedly would keep conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private in an effort to get around the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. "Cellebrite has been leading the adoption of field mobile forensics solutions by law enforcement for years, culminating in the formal introduction of our UFED FIELD series product line a year ago," Jim Grady, Cellebrite's CEO, said in a statement. "We look forward to supporting DORCs and law enforcement -- both in New York and nationally to curb distracted driving."
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Cellebrite Is Developing Roadside Police 'Textalyzer' Device

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  • Voice Texts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @06:33PM (#51888029) Homepage Journal

    Crazy, many new cars let you send and receive via voice now. Hell, even can listen and send without you picking them up.

    Sounds like a good excuse to copy peoples phones, pull someone over for "texting while driving" and scan their phone... No warrant needed.

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      Good luck trying to scan my Windows Phone! Bwaahahahaha! Sometimes being the oft-ignored sector has its benefits. The phone may be crackable, but no one bothers to try.

      References:
      All of those arguments about Linux and Mac being super secure back before there was enough market share for people to care to try to attack them.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        References:
        All of those arguments about Linux and Mac being super secure back before there was enough market share for people to care to try to attack them.

        Those arguments started to look as utterly stupid as they are to just about everyone around 2000 when Macs started becoming more common and linux ended up on a lot of servers and gadgets. I hope for your sake that you were attempting to make a joke.

        • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

          So far, Windows Phone hasn't shown enough signs of any uptick, so I'm comparing my platform choice as those Mac users who benefitted from lack of hacks due to lack of popularity. If Windows Phone sees any uptick, then obviously it means that the chance of my phone being attacked goes up.....but it also means that all of the other negatives about the platform (lack of interest from app developers) also goes away --- so, I win either way.

      • Good luck trying to scan my Windows Phone! Bwaahahahaha! Sometimes being the oft-ignored sector has its benefits. The phone may be crackable, but no one bothers to try.

        References: All of those arguments about Linux and Mac being super secure back before there was enough market share for people to care to try to attack them.

        I'm sure your windows phone totally doesn't have any legacy Win32 bugs hiding in your Windows 10 mobile OS. That mantra you're using from the 90s only applied because Linux didn't have as large a legacy codebase in the field. Taking your argument to the absurd, I can claim my BeOS machine is one of the most secure on the planet because nobody uses it and it's a beast of a different color.

    • Crazy, many new cars let you send and receive via voice now. Hell, even can listen and send without you picking them up.

      Sounds like a good excuse to copy peoples phones, pull someone over for "texting while driving" and scan their phone... No warrant needed.

      The fact of the matter is that you can set up things like autoreply via Tasker and other systems that could result in a text message being sent from your device while it's in your trunk. Plus, why do they need this device when they can just subpoena your cell phone records? It seems to me like this law is being written just so that the police can search your phone any time they stop you.

    • by rocket rancher ( 447670 ) <themovingfinger@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @09:50AM (#51891915)

      Crazy, many new cars let you send and receive via voice now. Hell, even can listen and send without you picking them up.

      Sounds like a good excuse to copy peoples phones, pull someone over for "texting while driving" and scan their phone... No warrant needed.

      former cop here. just...no. cops always need a warrant to search your person or seize your property, and probable cause if they are going to detain you. your busted licence plate light is all they need for the latter; you gave them the former via "implied consent" when you signed for your driver's license. Most civilians don't understand that a traffic stop is an arrest, and thus all the civil protections afforded citizens in the Constitution apply, meaning the cops have to follow the rules. Incidentally, that is probably why there is so much push back from cops about being recorded -- they aren't used to having to follow the rules. Some jerk's iphone record of their failure to do so imperils their career. Next time a cop pulls you over, ask him point blank: Am I being detained? If the first word out of his mouth is anything other than "Yes" drive away. A smart cop is going to smile ruefully and wait for a less savvy citizen to meet his roadside revenue quota. A dumb cop is going to call for back up and get his ass handed to him by his desk sergeant, the chief of police, the city prosecutor, and the judge at your trial (in the extremely unlikely event it gets that far) if he tries to detain you again.

      Sorry for the discursion. To bring this back on point, while existing implied consent laws can be easily adapted to include any electronic devices discovered in the course of your traffic stop, that is not the real issue here. People really need to understand that you are "under arrest" even when you are just being given a traffic ticket, and that you haven't surrendered your civil rights just because some cop thought you were an easy mark for a little quasi-legal extortion. You are protected by a robust set of principles enshrined in the Constitution, and you can rely on their protection when confronted by a cop who just wants to make his quota for the month and engage in a little data mining of your phone while he's at it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder... if they textalyze your phone and don't find what they want to see, whether they have to wear condoms as they fuck the shit out of your car looking for the "real" phone?

    Or is this just a legally neutered horse shit law? Or something more sinister, like an excuse to read everybody's text history? "We don't keep it. Honest!"

    All this police state nonsense is hilarious and all, and this should not be construed as a threat: if I were the cops, I would not want to be on the wrong side of the People - o

    • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

      That's why you involve a third party with oversight. They're not cops and they care about their reputation.

      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fonos ( 847221 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @07:00PM (#51888185)

        Tell that to the third parties companies that sell the red-light cameras. There's been numerous instances of the red-light cameras issuing false citations, and those companies pressuring localities to reduce the amount of time a yellow light is shown, in order to get more revenue at the expense of safety.

        • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @08:35PM (#51888677)

          Those things piss me off to no end.

          There are a few in my area with such a short yellow light that, depending on the distance, it would be safer to run the red light than to slam on the brakes.

        • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
          There's been numerous instances of the red-light cameras issuing false citations,

          Well, in that case they're doing it wrong, since the citation should be issued with at least a minimum amount of review by an actual person.

          and those companies pressuring localities to reduce the amount of time a yellow light is shown,

          So why isn't the minimum amount of time that a yellow light must be shown fixed by law based on scientific reasons (e.g. current speed limit, expected reaction time of a worst-case, legal

          • In many places, it is.
          • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @08:27AM (#51891113)

            So why isn't the minimum amount of time that a yellow light must be shown fixed by law based on scientific reasons (e.g. current speed limit, expected reaction time of a worst-case, legal driver, etc.)?

            Because then they cannot generate more revenue. These redlight camera outfits are not there to uphold the law. The are there to make a profit. When you are there to make a profit, at least in America, you have to make more profit this quarter than last quarter.

            Apparently the results of the yellow light shortening has been after it is implemented, drivers hopon the sprags as soon as they see one, treating it as a red light. This has resulted in more rear ending accidents, as the number one sport in the US is tailgaiting so closely that you owe the person in front of you at least a dinner and a movie. http://time.com/3643077/red-li... [time.com]

            https://www.motorists.org/blog... [motorists.org]

            Red light cameras and for profit prisons are turning out to be birds of a feather. Institutionalized evil.

        • That's not the least of it. Montgomery County, Maryland has lots of these camera's posted in "school zones". They put a 25 mph speed limit sign up. A few hundred feet further they put a 35 mph speed limit sign. Just beyond the 35 mph sign they put a camera that gives out tickets for driving over the 25 mph speed limit. State law says that the school zone speed limit overrides the posted speed limit so if you see the 35 mph sign and think you're driving the speed limit you still get a ticket.

          Maryland law sa

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      > when the music stops and everybody's looking for chairs

      If I may mix metaphors, nobody expects the music to stop and to have to pay the piper. If they did, we'd have fewer stupid people doing stupid things and that includes abusive people doing abusive things.

      They all think the ride won't end while they're on it. They all believe themselves immune or simply don't think of it - it's impossible, this is going to be the way things are - forever.. For the most part, humans are pretty stupid.

  • If your phone is locked, they need a warrant to search it. (It's open season if it's not locked)

    If the asked me to unlock it, my response would be "Not without a warrant" (Unspoken: "And not with one either".)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2016 @06:50PM (#51888121)

    This would be a brain dead law to enact, designed to only enrich Cellebrite. There are many ways there could be recent texts on your phone that would be completely legal under current US law in all 50 states. For example, a friend could be using your phone while you drive to text and respond to texts directed to you, or you could be using voice texting. Either the legislators are not very technically savvy, or in Cellebrite's pocket.

    • Either the legislators are not very technically savvy, or in Cellebrite's pocket.

      Mayor Quimby: Henceforth, this date shall forever be known as Flaming Moe's Day!
      Advisor: Uh, sir, this is already Veterans' Day.
      Mayor Quimby: It can be two things!

      Alternatively:

      Abe: All right! I admit it! I'm the Lindbergh baby! Wah wah! Goo goo! I miss my fly-fly dada!
      Bill Gannon: Are you stalling for time, or are you just senile?
      Abe: A little from column A, a little from column B.

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @06:56PM (#51888167)
    Does your phone have to be visible to the officer, or can they now search your car without a warrant to see if you've hidden a phone in it?
  • The key to selling a lot of these is to have a backdoor that can be assessed when needed.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday April 11, 2016 @07:10PM (#51888227) Journal

    This is the problem with the whole discussion. Law enforcement should not have access to the contents of your phone without a warrant. The focus on encryption it makes the emphasis on this discussion whether or not law enforcement should be able to crack your phone instead of what business they have examining your phone without a warrant in the first place.

    Would you let someone search your house without a warrant, even if they had a key? Why should your phone, which is your property, also be subject to illegal unreasonable search? Why should the data products that your phone produce that are not contained on the phone be subject to ongoing monitoring without a warrant?

    Record the phone number, get a warrant and ask the telecommunications companies for the *times* of your text messages and phone calls that day. No phone access required.

  • Any device, legislation, price of software, etc. that is explicitly designed to get around an amendment should be instantly dismissed.

    This is the "just the tip" of removing your constitutionally protected rights. And it's never just the tip. I'm thinking 13 will be next.

  • The only way they can determine whether you used your phone during a crash is to get deep into every single application and look at its logs: the SMS app, chat apps, the web browser, social media apps, etc. And you have to be naive to think that they aren't going to do keywords searches at the same time. And when the keyword searches "alert", they have the justification to dig deeper.

  • You have the time to go to the judge and get a warrant per the law. If you want to hook some hacking device up to my phone to figure out if I was texting somehow without accessing my private data, I'm going to need the source code to verify that my rights weren't violated. Also, violations of the DMCA apply to me hacking my own phone, not the cops using a device to hack my phone.

    • Since the hack needed to access the phone is largely something the Apple or Google would fix if they knew about demanding the source code might expose the vulnerability and thus be refused thereby dismissing the case.

  • Insane workaround - ask the phone company for timestamps of messages. Get a warrant if you have to.
  • Why can't they just ask the cell carrier if that phone was in use? Sounds like yet another bullshit device.
    • Why can't they just ask the cell carrier if that phone was in use?

      Because if the conversation isn't going over the voice or SMS network, the cell carrier can't easily distinguish data comprising a conversation over Skype or WhatsApp from another application's background data.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @04:03AM (#51890021)
    That was a factor in 2012 accident Inwas in. The insrance company subpoena cellphone records and the result was obvious.
  • That must be some amazing technology! It can even detect that the driver is texting, not one of the passengers...
  • It's not really a method to determine if you are at fault for an accident. They just want more of peoples data.

    There's no way to tell if the message I sent was created by me dictating the message or by me typing the message in. Or I could have been distracted by a message coming in by looking at it on the lock screen. It would show up as unread on the system even though I've seen it.

  • Carry a burner phone. When pulled over, turn off your main phone, hide it, and "use" the burner phone, and turn it over if asked.
    • Or, you know, you could just not text while driving. That might be a cheaper and easier way of avoiding fines.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        It's just as distracting for a driver to dictate out loud to the passenger holding the phone.

  • I never text, but this brings up a question frequently on my mind: is using google navigate while driving considered "distracted driving"? I try to set the destination before putting the car in gear, but I don't always do it that way, and it is admittedly dangerous to type in a destination while driving. Also tend to hold phone in my hand so that I can see the navigation info while driving -- can this get me busted?
  • Take a look at how breathalyzers have pushed back significantly over the years that their implementations are "trade secrets" and therefore not subject to scruitany. It was only a few years ago when we finally got a look behind the curtain [slashdot.org] just to discover the devices wouldn't have passed most government agency standards including temporary code left in production, a failure to baseline properly, and only registering a problem with the device after 32 consecutive errors. Who here doesn't see history repea
  • Why no Officer I do NOT have a cellphone in my possession. (cell phone locked in trunk).

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