Police probe cell phones to thwart criminals

Deep in the bowels of San Francisco’s Hall of Justice, Sgt. Wayne Hom plugs in a USB key to activate a new high-tech tool that has become the delight of cops, the bane of bad guys and a cloud over civil liberties – a device to extract contacts, text messages, pictures and videos from cell phones. “Around here they call me Inspector Gadget because I can wire just about anything,” said Hom, a former gang task force officer who now battles crime digitally with a new genre of cell phone forensic extraction devices…

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