Details of CCL's new surveying service designed to help law enforcement agencies (LEAs) manage the forensic risks associated with the rapid changes happening to the UK’s mobile phone networks.
Digital forensics specialist CCL Solutions Group has launched a new service to help law enforcement agencies (LEAs) manage the forensic risks associated with the rapid changes happening to the UK’s mobile phone networks.
The Cell Site Scene Preservation service is the brainchild of CCL’s cell site team, widely regarded as the country’s foremost group of experts in this evolving field. LEAs can request a survey of locations of interest at the onset of an investigation, with CCL responding within 72 hours with a survey of operators’ 2G, 3G and 4G networks; this secures a ‘date-stamped’ snapshot of service-providing cells in the surveyed areas, with detailed reports and maps supplied for submission into evidence.
Cell Site Manager Brian Edwards explains the rationale for the new offering: “With the advent of 5G, UK mobile network operators are actively reconfiguring their mobile networks across the UK. 3G and some 2G cells will be replaced by 4G and 5G cells; BT, for example, has stated that it intends to completely remove its 3G network during 2023.
“Such widespread, rapid and profound change has significant consequences for investigators: if you don’t move to preserve the cell scene early, then you run the risk of the mobile network changing between the time any calls were made by a target phone and the subsequent time (potentially weeks or months later) when you do request a cell site survey. An inability to prove which cells were providing service at or around the time of the offence can seriously undermine the validity of any Cell Site evidence presented in court.
“Our ‘rapid response’ Cell Site Scene Preservation service aims to negate those risks and support LEAs in their desire to meet the ‘Gold Model’ for investigations. We’re using Software Defined Radio surveying equipment to ensure our findings are robust and defensible, and our certified experts can assist with subsequent evidence presentation in court if required.”