Police extracted fingerprints from WhatsApp photos to convict drug dealers

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Law enforcement officials have been complaining for quite a while now that encrypted devices and encrypted chat apps are slowing down investigations. Key evidence that could be used in criminal cases is protected by encryption, making it hard for police to crack those devices and obtain the evidence they need. Now a recent report from the UK shows what modern technology can do when access to apps like WhatsApp is obtained. Cops in Wales managed to use a picture sent via the popular chat app to extract fingerprints belonging to a suspected drug dealer. That evidence was then used to obtain convictions.

The following image is the photo in question, showing a hand holding a bag of ecstasy pills.

It turns out that the visible part of a finger at the bottom of that photo was enough to extract a viable fingerprint that could then be used to identify the criminal. As a result, the South Wales Police’s support unit helped secure 11 convictions.

These are the first convictions in Wales that used fingerprints obtained from photos, the BBC reports. The police work has been described as “groundbreaking,” and officers are paying more attention to photos on phones to be used as potential evidence. – READ MORE

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