Frequently Asked Questions
North Texas RCFL frequently asked questions.
Cell Phone Kiosk FAQs
Q: Do you need experience in cell phone forensics to use the kiosk?
A: No, but some familiarity with computers is helpful.
Q: What about training – do you need to take a class before to learn how to use the kiosk?
A: Yes, a brief computer-based training course was designed to help customers navigate the kiosk tool.
Q: How does the kiosk work?
A: The kiosk has two components: 1) a cell phone examination system containing software and the necessary cables to download data and 2) a photographic system that enables a user to take pictures of a cell phone's screen for data that could not be downloaded. Both systems create detailed reports of the extracted data that can be used as evidence. You can then burn the report to a CD or DVD.
Q: By using the kiosk, is this the same as conducting a cell phone examination? Can we present these findings in court?
A: The kiosk is a preview tool and enables investigators to see a portion of the data quickly and easily. The kiosk was not designed to take the place of a full scale cell phone examination performed by a certified Examiner, however, any evidence produced using the kiosk tool is admissible in a court of law.
Q: Typically, how long does it take to download the information from a cell phone using the kiosk? Is there a minimum? A maximum?
A: Downloading just text can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes. Downloading photos can take anywhere from five minutes up to five hours – it depends on how much data is contained in the phone and how long the investigator has to conduct the preview.
Q: Do you have to make an appointment to use the kiosk?
A: Generally, it's best to call ahead. The NTRCFL's main number is 972-559-5800.
Q: Is there on-site help available?
A: Yes, the NTRCFL has a CPIK administrator whose job it is to manage this service offering and to offer on-site assistance when needed.
Q: Can I preview more than one phone at a time?
A: It depends. There are two separate software tools that enable users to either download data or photograph a cell phone's screen. Therefore, a user can preview two phones simultaneously, but because there is only one computer available, only the results from one tool can be viewed at a time.
Q: With so many makes and models of cell phones, can the kiosk extract data from all of them?
A: As with any software tool, the kiosk is compatible with a percentage of cell phones on the market. Depending on age, condition, type, origin, and the use of passwords and/or encryption, results will vary. Additionally, because this is a preview tool, the user can only extract a limited amount of data from a cell phone. A full cell phone examination conducted by a certified Examiner will yield additional data and result in a more thorough review.