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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

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Michigan ACLU Questions Troopers' Use of Cellphone Data Extractors

April 18, 2011  | 


Cellebrite's UFED standard is a mobile forensic device that extracts data from 95% of cellular phones on the market today, according to the company. Photo via Cellebrite.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan wants more information about how Michigan State Police troopers are using devices known as cellular data extractors to retrieve information from a citizen's mobile device during a traffic stop without their consent.

In an April 13 letter to Col. Kriste Etue, director of the state agency, the civil liberties union expressed its concern that the devices may violate search-and-seizure rights.

"The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches," according to the ACLU's letter. "A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched."

The state police acquired several of Cellebrite's UFED devices that extract data such as phonebook, pictures, videos, text messages, call logs, ESN, and IMEI information. The data is then collected into reports for research and evidence that can be used in the courtroom.

The union has filed a federal records request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for more information about how troopers are using the devices.

In a brief response, a spokeswoman with the Michigan State Police told PoliceMag.com the agency is currently reviewing the ACLU's public records request.

"The Michigan State Police will provide information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)," Tiffany Brown of the MSP's Public Affairs Section wrote in an e-mail. "As with any FOI request, under the statute, there may be a processing fee to search for, retrieve, review, examine, and separate exempt material, if any."

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