Expert Witness Corner: Forensic Analysis of Mobile Telephones – A Brief Guide

Mobile Telephone Handsets – The Essentials:

Modern communication devices of this form comprise of three distinct components: a finger-nail sized chip known as the ‘Subscriber Identity Module’ (SIM) that is responsible for service with the telecom network provider, the handset, which provides the user interface and memory capacity to store information, and removable memory modules that facilitate simple exchange of information and markedly improve the data storage capacity of the phone.

Many specialists argue that the mobile phone has become the new fingerprint – a case in point being Ian Huntley’s conviction for the Soham murders  in the U.K which was based partly on crucial mobile phone evidence.

Digital Evidence:

Mobile phones employ what is known as ‘flash memory’ to store data and settings. Unlike the ‘Random Access Memory’ (RAM), which is found within computers, flash memory can continue to store information even in the absence of a power source.

As mobile communication devices continue to evolve, with features like word processing and photo imaging applications becoming commonplace, the memory storage areas have become increasingly important silos of digital evidence.

The following materials can be recovered from the handset and can greatly assist in case preparations:

• Logged Incoming & Last Dialled numbers
• Text & Multimedia messages
• System Settings (including date/time/volume)
• Stored audio/visual materials
• Saved computer and data files
• Calendar and Alarm notifications
• Internet settings and websites accessed.

Common Questions:

Q: Where does evidence reside – on the handset or on the SIM?

A: Materials of evidentiary value are stored on both the SIM4 and within the handset memory. Therefore it is recommended that comprehensive evaluations of both are undertaken. The SIM will tend to contain valuable user-specific information such as network identity, whilst the handset will contain large amounts of information relating to calls made/received, texts sent/received, images/video clips created etc.

Q: Can obscene images/material be stored on a handset?

A:The prevalence of high resolution cameras on most mobile telephones has led to an increase in the number of offences being committed in relation to creation, or attempted creation, of obscene images. Assuming a standard handset with 32MB of memory, close to 500 still images could be taken and stored.

Q: Data deleted six months ago – can it be recovered?

A: Dependent upon a number of factors, such as whether the information has since been over-written, it is possible to retrieve even the oldest materials committed to the phone – including material that were never saved by the user. In most cases a surprising amount of information can be retrieved, often going back several years.

Q: Does locking the handset keep information private?

A: Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and pass codes can be used to restrict access to the handset, but forensic assessments typically bypass such controls by interrogating the memory module directly5. At this time encrypted file-systems and data storage areas are not available in standard retail handsets.

Q: What else can the handset tell us?

A: Aside from digital evidence the presence of DNA traces on the keypad, earpiece and mouthpiece can tie a user to device. Similarly, ‘Call Data Records’ (CDRs)6 can be retrieved from the network provider, providing near post-code location information as to where and when the device was used.

Q: How do you identify the International Mobile Equipment Identity?

A: The IMEI is a 15 digit Code used to identify the phone to the network. Whilst this code can be retrieved during a forensic examination, a quick way to force the handset to display onscreen the code is to enter *#06# on the keypad7. Caution: this approach to identifying the IMEI may affect valuable evidence in storage.

Q: OK, I’ve got the basics, but where can I find the right expert to help my case?

A: There are a number of expert witness directories available, particularly online, where you can find an expert witness with the relevant experience to help you. If you can find someone recommended by a fellow professional who has used the expert before, so much the better.

Did you know?

New mobile telephones have as much as 32 megabytes of internal memory – enough to comfortably store a document with over 2,000 pages of text!

Telephone handsets will typically store user defined words that are not in a normal dictionary. Names of individuals and places are therefore often stored in this archive – a potentially valuable source of intelligence for investigators.

Ross Patel is a forensic computer consultant with Afentis Forensics. You can view the company profile and find an expert witness at X-Pro UK, the innovative expert witness directory.

SpeechPro Forensic Audio Workstation Reveals Identity of Mr. Hidden Cash in California

Los Angeles (PRWEB) June 23, 2014

SpeechPro, a global leader in audio forensics and voice biometrics, was recently featured in an Inside Edition exposé to confirm the identity of Mr. Hidden Cash, an anonymous benefactor who’d been leaving packets of money around cities in California.

A nationwide frenzy to determine the identity of the Mr. Hidden Cash concluded when Inside Edition engaged Kent Gibson, an audio forensics expert and owner of Forensic Audio in Los Angeles, to validate his identity using SpeechPro’s SIS II Voice ID module. The verdict? It was a match for a San Francisco real estate broker named Jason Buzi.

Billing himself as an “anonymous social experience for good,” Mr. Hidden Cash posts clues to where he’s hidden money on his Twitter page, which now has more than 600,000 followers. The voice of Mr. Hidden Cash was recorded previously during an interview in Los Angeles, when a news crew caught him hiding envelopes of money in a neighborhood park. Acting on a tip, Inside Edition then found a podcast featuring Jason Buzi and confronted him to ask if he is Mr. Hidden Cash.

Using SpeechPro’s Voice ID software, Gibson was then able to quickly match the voice on both voice samples with very high certainty. “SpeechPro comes to the rescue for most of my forensic audio needs,” Gibson said. “The voice recognition module is unsurpassed in ease of operation and proven reliability, as shown in the results of a NIST 2014 competition.”

At first Buzi denied being Mr. Hidden Cash, but when confronted with Gibson’s results, he admitted during the Inside Edition broadcast that he is indeed the secret benefactor.

“Kent Gibson is one of many advanced audio forensics experts using SpeechPro products to clean, analyze and confirm the identity of persons of interest,” said Steve Eccher, business development manager for SpeechPro. Eccher was formerly with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Investigation and has worked with law enforcement entities to identify and apprehend suspects and to identity benefactors like Mr. Hidden Cash.

About SpeechPro

SpeechPro is a global leader in development of cutting-edge solutions in speech recording, processing, analysis and voice biometrics. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, SpeechPro has the expertise and experience to deliver innovative solutions for law enforcement and commercial customers.

SpeechPro’s strength of technology comes from their 400 employees, including a world-class R&D team of over 150 specialists, including 28 PhDs. Their R&D capability allows them to quickly respond to the market’s demands, developing and customizing high-quality solutions in a timely manner. SpeechPro’s global distribution networks of 200 resellers and partners have deployed products in over 74 countries. SpeechPro’s core expertise lies in audio recording, forensic audio analysis, audio enhancement and voice biometrics.

About Forensic Audio

Kent Gibson, owner of Forensic Audio in Los Angeles, works with audio and video evidence for litigation and for private use. He can enhance, restore and authenticate recordings in any format. He specializes in making a barely discernible voice intelligible for a jury. He is certified voice print analyst and expert using SIS II, Sound Cleaner 2 and EdiTracker. He is qualified as an expert witness for audio and video and is experienced with certified transcripts, forensic examiner declarations, expert analysis and other litigation support. Gibson is on the LA Superior Court’s expert witness list and also is a contract examiner for the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

More Expert Witness Press Releases

Forensic Expert Witness Association to Host Panel Discussion on The Use of Expert Witnesses in Criminal Proceedings

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) June 06, 2014

The Chicago Chapter of the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) is pleased to announce its summer 2014 educational and networking meeting focusing on the topic of “The Use of Expert Witnesses in Criminal Proceedings” for forensic consultants and members of the legal community. FEWA is a national non-profit professional membership organization of experts who provide forensic services in all technical specialties.

Panelists Diane MacArthur, Assistant U.S. Attorney and Senior Trial Counsel, Northern District of Illinois, Mark Ertler, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Forensic Unit Supervisor and John Marshal Law School Faculty Member, and Lisa Noller, Esq. of Foley & Lardner, Vice-Chair Government Enforcement, Compliance and White Collar Defense Practice, will discuss how attorneys litigating criminal cases choose expert witnesses, what characteristics are important in the expert witness, and how attorneys find experts. The panel will be moderated by Venice Meyer, CPA/CFF, CBFE, Director, Duff & Phelps, Global Forensic Services.

According to FEWA Midwest Program Co-chair Marnie Gucciard, of McGovern & Greene, “Our FEWA Chicago summer meeting traditionally features regional leaders in the legal field. This year we continue this tradition with speakers from the US Department of Justice, the State’s Attorney Office and an international law firm which was founded here in the Midwest.”

The meeting is Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 8:00 – 9:30 am at the Conference Center of Kubasiak, Fylstra, Thorpe & Rotunno in Chicago, IL. To learn more and register visit or call the FEWA National Office at (415) 369-9614.

Speaking will be in a personal capacity. MCLE and CPE credits are pending approval.

Join us on LinkedIn!

Related Expert Witness Press Releases

The End of the Zodiac Mystery – How Forensic Science Helped Solve One of the Most Infamous Serial Killer Cases of the Century

Temecula, CA (PRWEB) May 20, 2014

Many past attempts have failed to pinpoint the true identity of this infamous killer. A new book, The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching For My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer by Gary L. Stewart with Susan Mustafa, released on May 13, 2014, provides compelling evidence, including Wakshull’s handwriting comparison, that the real killer—Stewart’s birth father—has finally been identified.

After years of investigation by Stewart to prove the Zodiac was not his father, he was forced to accept the truth of his parentage. Handwriting analysis was the final tool used to confirm this reality.

Forensic Document Examiner, Michael Wakshull of Q9 Consulting, Inc., was engaged to analyze known writing samples from Stewart’s father and compare them with the many letters and envelopes sent to newspapers in Northern and Southern California by the Zodiac killer.

Wakshull said, “I’ve worked on many document examination cases, and it’s not often that I find handwriting that matches so closely. My formal finding is ‘virtually certain’ that Earl Van Best Jr. was the real Zodiac killer.”

The End of the Zodiac Mystery takes the reader through the methodology used to solve the case.. The book includes Wakshull’s actual writing comparisons, explaining the nuances he used to make his determination. Readers will see complete copies of the Zodiac’s writings, as well as the original detailed report Wakshull provided to Stewart and Mustafa.

Upon receiving Wakshull’s 65 page report, Stewart said, “As I stared at the exhibits [Wakshull had] generated, I got chills. He had overlaid my father’s handwriting onto the Zodiac’s, and the results were stunning. I had that final piece of evidence—forensic evidence that would stand up in a court of law.”

The book is available at both and on

ISBN: 978-0-9857294-2-4 Print

ISBN: 978-0-9857294-3-1 Kindle

ISBN: 978-0-9857294-4-8 EPUB

About the Author: Michael Wakshull, president of Q9 Consulting, is a civil and criminal court-qualified forensic document examiner providing services throughout the U.S. Cases include authentication of handwritten and computer-generated documents. Wakshull holds a Master of Science in technology management, a graduate school certificate in forensic document examination and has spoken at the World Congress of Forensics in China. He authors and presents document examination courses for minimum continuing legal education (MCLE). Wakshull is a member of the National Association of Document Examiners, Interim president of the San Diego Chapter of Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), ASTM International, and a senior member of the American Society for Quality.

A National Speakers Association member, he is available to speak on these subjects.


The Expert Witness Marketing Book How To Promote Your Forensic Practice In A Professional And Cost-Effective Manner The Expert Witness Marketing Book Reviews

The Expert Witness Marketing Book How To Promote Your Forensic Practice In A Professional And Cost-Effective Manner The Expert Witness Marketing Book

The Expert Witness Marketing Book How To Promote Your Forensic Practice In A Professional And Cost-Effective Manner The Expert Witness Marketing Book

Book annotation not available for this title.
Title The Expert Witness Marketing Book
Author Hamilton Rosalie
Publisher Expert Communications
Publication Date 2003/04/01
Number of Pages 264
Binding Type HARDCOVER
Library of Congress 2002094889


Forensic Expert Witness Association Presents Meritorious Service Award to Nicole Goodwin, Esq.

Tempe, AZ (PRWEB) April 30, 2014

Arizona litigation attorney Nicole Goodwin, Esq. was awarded the President’s National Meritorious Service Award by the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Tempe, AZ. FEWA is a national non-profit professional membership organization of experts who provide forensic services in all technical specialties. The award was presented by national FEWA President John Levitske during the association’s Annual Conference. Goodwin was recognized for her on-going efforts in the areas of professional development, ethics, education, and training of forensic consultants in all fields of discipline. In presenting the award, Levitske said, “Ms. Goodwin has shown extraordinary commitment to the advancement of the field, and this is the first President’s National Meritorious Service to FEWA Award which has been presented to an attorney.” Goodwin is an experienced commercial litigation attorney and shareholder with the firm of Greenberg Traurig, and she also teaches at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Find More Expert Witness Press Releases

Forensic Fire Investigation Expert Witness Testimony Forensic Fire Investigation Expert Witness Testimony-James McMullen – 40 Yrs Experience Court Qualified Fire Expert Witness…
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Food Safety Expert Witness:

Restaurant Expert Witness (, Howard Cannon – Food Safety Expert Witness – only provides expert witness services and li…