A new mobile phone faraday bag called the ‘Phone-Shield’ has been launched by Tamworth-based Disklabs, is set to increase the ability of the police to successfully and cost-effectively prosecute in cases where mobile phone data comprises an essential element of evidence. The new Phone-Shield has been designed by Disklabs to ensure that data on a suspect’s mobile phone can be investigated without that data being compromised when the phone connects to its relevant network…Disklabs used ACPO’s guidance on mobile phone seizure and examination as the blueprint for their design, and extensive subsequent testing has been successful in proving that the Phone-Shield successfully keeps suspects’ mobile phones secure from any incoming communications from the networks at the point of police capture, irrespective of the type of phone, frequency or network.
Not having the mobile phone switched on safeguards against network interference and ‘tainting’ but it also means that critical time and date stamps cannot be verified, leading to evidence captured being questioned in court. However, the ‘Faraday’ window on the Phone-Shield allows the police examiner to view the phone in a ‘Faraday’ condition, thus enabling an ‘immediate preview of evidence’.
Simon Steggles, MD of Disklabs, believes Phone-Shield will save police forces several hundred thousand pounds by transforming both the initial arrest process and subsequent prosecution approach. Simon explained: “Mobile phones are becoming increasingly associated with a number of street crimes, particularly violent crime involving several people or gangs where at least one person is tempted to video the crime on their mobile phone. In this scenario the traditional police approach would involve the entire group being taken to the police station and bailed whilst mobile phone evidence was examined. Using the new Phone-Shield, a police officer can place each suspect’s phone in a Faraday bag and search for any incriminating evidence without fear of it being compromised by connection to any network. Using the new Phone Shield however the process is transformed and the number of phones requiring expensive examination is drastically reduced, thus saving potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds per police force across a year. Furthermore, the reduction in unnecessary mobile phone investigations ensures that crimes are investigated considerably faster. In addition, the prospects for successful prosecution are increased because defending counsel will be less able to argue that mobile phone evidence has been tainted during examination through connection to a network.”
Disklabs believe that the new Phone Shied will speed up investigation times, and will save up to 80% of all mobile phones from needing an examination which would generally result in no relevant data found. In addition, suspects would not be able to hinder investigation by PIN or PUK locking their phone.
The Phone-Shield is re-usable and inexpensive, with purchase costs easily recovered by the use of the Shield for just a single examination, and of course by the fact that a much more expensive Faraday Cage will no longer be needed.