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UK police are mugging suspects to seize unlocked phones


UK police have a creative new solution to the encryption problem: just snatch the phone.

Today, the BBC reported on a recent fraud case in which Scotland Yard agents staged a pre-arrest mugging in order to make sure a suspect’s iPhone was seized in unlocked mode. Investigating a credit card forger, police waited for the suspect to make a call, then snatched the phone directly out of his hand before arresting him. The result was an unlocked phone — an open book for investigators, provided they didn’t let it slip into sleep mode.

The tactic itself isn’t new. In the Silk Road case, agents made a point to pull Ross Ulbricht away from his laptop before he could close it, which would have encrypted the hard drive and shut off valuable evidence. Still, general police booking procedures mean most phones are still seized in locked form. – READ MORE

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