Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Workshop Teaches Police Art of Cellphone Forensics

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Workshop Teaches Police Art of Cellphone Forensics

Article excerpt

Huntington - Cellphone forensics are the new DNA - at least according to John Sammons, a former Huntington police officer turned Marshall University assistant professor in the school's Integrated Science and Technology Department "I would daresay that your cellphone could tell more about you than your best friend or your mom," Sammons said on Thursday while taking a break from a cellphone forensics course geared toward law enforcement officials.

The course, which Sammons helped organize, has attracted officials from as far as Kansas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina to Marshall University's Forensic Science Center this week.

The five-day course allows enrollees to work on a system called Cellebrite, which Sammons classified as the most powerful mobile forensic tool on the market.

As technology continues to advance, Sammons said it has become increasingly important for law enforcement officials to stay educated on forensic tools in order to help solve crimes.

"There is at least the potential to having digital evidence in every single case - I don't care what it is - from littering to homicide, he said.

A forensic cellphone analysis can provide authorities with a view into a person - be it through text messages, emails, videos, web browsing and phone applications.

With an almost limitless amount of digital evidence that exists, Sammons said law enforcement officials are having an increasingly difficult time staying on top of everything.

That's not only because of constantly evolving technology but also due to lack of staff adept at using forensic tools such as Cellebrite.

Describing the specific tool - which he said was absolutely critical - Sammons said, "We're trying to prove or disprove what happened. We're taking the data that the device collects by itself and then using that in a different context."

This week's course at Marshall University will allow those enrolled the opportunity to become certified in two different areas. …

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