Any way to guard against data extraction devices?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by raoul.duke., Apr 28, 2011.

  1. raoul.duke. macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    I couldn't care less about Apple collecting my location data.

    What's really scary is this:


    and this:

    As a journalist, I face routine harassment from law enforcement officials. Especially when I'm trying to cover a story they don't want getting out. So far I've had camera lenses broken, notes and recordings confiscated, I've been threatened with jail time, I've been detained, etc. God forbid they have some way of actually getting dirt on me they could use in court, or worse, some way of compromising a confidential source...

    Is there any way to guard against these devices without jailbreaking my phone? Is there any way at all? (I'll jailbreak it if I must.)

    Rumor has it that newer versions of Cellebrite's UFED data extraction device can download your data, including location, contact, photos, voicemails, voice recordings, etc. wirelessly without your knowledge, in under 90 seconds.
  2. pugnut macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007

    Stay off the grid and don't use a cell phone.

    Privacy simply does not exist anymore-
  3. raoul.duke. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    As a journalist, that's not really an option. Though I have considered buying a burn phone as a decoy...
  4. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    I'm afraid I don't know any ways to protect yourself :(

    These rumors are pretty scary though! :(
  5. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    Keep a crappy pay-go phone on hand at all times.
    But really, the only way a cop can legally get the data is with a warrant or your consent.
  6. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
  7. awadeee macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2011
  8. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    I do not believe that is true. I have heard that a routine traffic stop may be reason enough
  9. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
  10. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    Nope... that would never hold up in ANY court.
    A cop must have probable cause that a crime has been committed AND that your cell phone contained relevant information regarding that crime before he could perform such an in-depth search without a warrant.
    He is then limited to collecting only the relevant information.
    He cannot simply dump your entire phone's contents.
    Remember, he has to explain this to a judge later.
    Beside that, you have the right to refuse the search.
    Demand your attorney be present before they touch anything.

    Make them arrest you.
    Make the cop stand in front of the judge and explain exactly WHY he needed to collect the data off your phone.
    The civil rights violation lawsuit should net you some decent cash.
  11. JRoDDz, Apr 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2011

    JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    Seems like a golden opportunity to make an app! Call it iErase. It will self destruct all data on iPhone in 3 seconds prior to handing over to said police. or even better yet, put dummy data on the phone to screw them up. Then when you get home, just restore.
  12. raoul.duke. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    Warrantless searches are routinely help up in court, especially when it comes to traffic stops.

    Most states also have "implied consent" rules and laws that allow officers to search vehicles, persons and personal property if the suspect is driving (including any and all passengers). They don't need probable cause, they don't need a warrant, all you have to do is have a driver's license to "imply consent" to a search and seizure during a traffic stop. If you don't have a license, well, then you're in violation of the law and they have every right to search your vehicle anyway. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    Some states and cites even extend this to simply walking down the street or being in a public place. (Been subject to that a few times, actually)

    I'm wondering if, via jailbreaking, one could theoretically alter the directories where information is stored, thereby making the device think that there is NO data on the phone. Or at least making it impossible to find with a DED.
  13. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    It won't happen in 3 seconds. Flash media is too slow to do a thorough wipe that quickly. if you've ever done a wipe by going to Settings -> General -> Reset and erasing all content and settings (OR if you do the remote wipe from Mobile Me), it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to finish. that's as fast as it goes.

    Still, if you have data to get rid of, doing that wipe is the best you can hope for. Though, the cops definitely aren't gonna be happy with you if you turn over your phone and they see this on the screen:

  14. raoul.duke. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    What's really worrisome is having this happen in a foreign country. One where I probably don't have any 1st or 4th or 5th Amendment rights. The middle east comes to mind...

    In the next year or so, I will probably be afforded the opportunity to travel abroad as a correspondent. What I'm worried about, is that foreign "law enforcement" use a device such as these to compromise sources who may just disappear...

    I would also like to NOT disappear, as it were, though the worst that would probably happen is being deported. I would still not want to be responsible for reprisals against sources. I do have an ethical obligation to protect them...
  15. raoul.duke., Apr 28, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011

    raoul.duke. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    I could give a **** if they're happy... My career is, half the time, based on pissing them off...

    My job isn't TO piss them off. It just happens to be an all too common side effect.
  16. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    Warrant-less searches still require probable cause, including searching a vehicle during a traffic stop.
    The officer has no authority to go on a fishing expedition to "see what he can find". He has to have a reason (probable cause) to conduct the search in the first place.
    He does have the authority to ask for the ID's of every person in the vehicle.
    There is no such thing as implied consent. It's given or it's not.

    The article you quoted, if you read it, stated the phone was searched AFTER the suspect was already arrested and in custody.
    All items confiscated on a person when they are arrest is subject to inspection by law enforcement. It's called evidence.
    This is a no brainer.

    You are not taken into custody when being cited for a traffic violation.
  17. drummr macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2011
    And cops NEVER act outside of the law and are perfect in every way.
  18. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    Never said they were angels, but you have the right to refuse any search.
    Let them arrest you and wait for your attorney.
    Cops hate dealing with lawyers just as much as the next guy.
  19. BZIG macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2011
    My friends set-up,

    Iphone inside a Lockable Clear camera case, locked with a combination lock.

    When law enforcement demands his iPhone all he does is go to settings, re-set/erase all data and place the iPhone inside the Clear lockable case.

    Good luck getting a judge to sign for a warrant on a Clear locked case w/ an iPhone inside and No data.

    Though an iErase software would be nice as well.

    What no data? Fuuuuuuuu ... :D
  20. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007

    When I said "not happy" I meant in terms of slapping a destruction of evidence / obstruction of justice charge on you. Which, regardless of the legitimacy of them detaining you before that, adds something that will probably stick now.

    But hey, clearly some people are cool with mixin' it up with the cops. Have at. :)
  21. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    Sorry but laws are broken every day and information is used in court against you. Our government is quickly stripping us of any privacy laws in the name of security. Any one that thinks our government follows the laws has got to be a guppy.:eek:

    I am still convinced that the phone SEND this information to Apple on a regular basis. What the info is used for or given to is still a mystery.:(
  22. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    I don't know what you guys do on your phones, but there is absolutely nothing incriminating on mine.
  23. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Prove it - post all your contacts, calls, emails and SMSs here.

    We'll find something.
  24. mpalmero macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2011
    protect your data!

    Definitely cops will only do those if they have a warrant. The simplest way is to look into your online data storing - take precautionary measures to avoid misconceptions and identity theft. :)

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