South Wales Police announced they were able to access a WhatsApp user's photos through a backdoor, then extract fingerprint data from a picture of a weed dealer's hand to help convict 11 involved people.
The police said the "groundbreaking" work was done by the Joint Scientific Support Unit (JSIU):
Staff from the unit’s specialist imaging team were able to enhance a picture of a hand holding a number of tablets, which was taken from a mobile phone, before fingerprint experts were able to positively identify that the hand was that of Elliott Morris. [...] Speaking about the pioneering techniques used in the case, Dave Thomas, forensic operations manager at the Scientific Support Unit, added: “Specialist staff within the JSIU fully utilised their expert image-enhancing skills which enabled them to provide something that the unit’s fingerprint identification experts could work. Despite being provided with only a very small section of the fingerprint which was visible in the photograph, the team were able to successfully identify the individual.”
• Pioneering fingerprint technique helps South Wales Police secure drugs convictions against 11 people (via Sputnik)
A really bad new law in Australia gives police the right to force companies like Apple to ‘backdoor’, or create encryption circumvention alternatives, in all their products. The issue has been controversial in the U.S. for a long time, and spiked in 2016 after the mass shooting in San Bernardino.
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