Mobile Phone Tracking: It helps if you have a mobile phone

Ian Batten igb at
Wed Sep 26 10:26:27 BST 2012

One of the most common arguments dragged up in favour of maintaining and retaining details on mobile phone use is tracking missing people.

One of the most common arguments dragged up in favour of being able to use forensic software on mobile phones is that you can find out more information about what the owner has been doing.

But it would appear to be a Very Bad Idea Indeed to seize the mobile phone of a teenage girl you suspect of being in a sexual relationship with a teacher so that you can examine it for evidence, if the upshot is that when she runs away --- as is almost inevitable, once you've tipped her off by seizing her phone --- she will, if she is carrying a phone at all, be carrying a PAYG phone she acquired at short notice.

To be fair, it's likely that a 30 year old mathematics teacher knows more about "going off grid" or whatever than a lunk-headed thug, so that they've apparently used neither traceable phones nor traceable credit cards may not be influenced by the seizure of her phone.  But, seriously, what were they thinking?  When a pathetic --- this is, I suspect, a case of "sad" rather than "mad" or "bad" --- bloke goes on the run with a teenage girl they are not going to be able to maintain perfect operational secrecy, their absconding together is hardly surprising and teenage girls store their lives in their phones. So that even if they don't make calls, there's a strong chance they will nonetheless turn it on and thus give away their position.  Confiscating the one device that most readily provides a location for a teenage girl, when you have every reason to suspect that she might go missing upon an investigation making itself apparent, seems pretty silly.


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