Cell Phone Investigations

Course Description

This course is a detailed introduction to how cell phone data can be used by investigators to enhance criminal investigations. Instruction will cover use of historical communication data (records), real-time surveillance options, physical cell phone forensics considerations and solutions that all law enforcement personnel should know. Legal issues about how to obtain and use this data will be covered as well as surveillance operations considerations, company specific considerations, courtroom presentation issues and other related matters. At the end of this course, students will have a very thorough understanding of what is possible with communication data in criminal investigations, the several primary categories of available data and how to determine the servicing companies for communications devices and accounts.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the primary categories of data that are available from cell phones, including:
    1. Data from physical devices such as cell phones themselves, traditionally retrievable utilizing forensic techniques
    2. Activation, subscriber and payment information
    3. Communication/call detail records (CDRs) with and without geographic information
    4. Law enforcement surveillance data from cell phones, such as traps and traces, pen registers (CALEA delivery), field device locations, "target development," and communications intercept (aka "wiretaps")
  2. Determine the company that services a phone number, and Internet Protocol (IP) address, email address and web address.
  3. Determine which provider company to contact.
  4. Determine how to contact a specific provider company.
  5. List the primary categories of legal demands that are used to lawfully obtain data and authorize surveillances, including customer consent, emergency legal demands, subpoenas, court orders and search warrants.
  6. Describe the primary tools that may be used to map cell phone geographic data such as Microsoft Streets and Trips and Iconico's Screen Protractor software.


Course Length

2 days (16 hours)

Who May Attend This Course

Law Enforcement/Code Enforcement (course is best suited for investigators, analysts and prosecutors)