A new, improved Faraday Cage

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A new, improved Faraday Cage

Suppose a suspect fleeing the scene of a crime leaves his mobile phone behind. It contains information that can be very useful to the police. What was the last number called? What numbers are in the phone list? Which network areas had the phone passed through recently? But before the police have time to examine the contents, the owner manages to wipe the memory clean remotely. What a lost opportunity...

At the request of a number of Dutch police forces, the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) has developed a new, more effective version of what is known as a Faraday cage. Named after its inventor, Michael Faraday, this device (amongst other things) enables police forces to secure and immediately retrieve data on mobile phones, preventing suspects from quickly deleting such data remotely.

No electromagnetic signals

A Faraday cage is a container made of a conducting material that filters out electromagnetic signals. A mobile phone placed inside the cage therefore cannot receive calls or be wiped remotely. Investigators using the cage's special conductive gloves can put their hands in the cage, to retrieve and secure the most important data immediately. They can see what they are doing on a monitor.

Improvements

The NFI has examined the weaknesses of existing Faraday cages and developed a new model in collaboration with police forensic investigators. The cage can also be used to store and extract data from laptops or WLAN routers. These and other improvements make the NFI Faraday cage much more useful. Police and other authorities can read out data from a phone that has been secured as evidence directly in the cage, without running the risk of the data being changed or of a criminal 'wiping' the phone clean.

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