Originally Posted by Johnny Dogs
Wonder if the phones had any credible evidence on them, and was any credible reason ever given for them going AWOL?
One thing which worries me about the tribunal's approach to phones (and I've heard it directly from people involved with investigating alleged crimes that this is a problem for all areas of enforcement involving mobile phones these days) is their reliance on phone billing records in lieu of the missing devices. iMessages, WhatsApp calls and messages, Viber calls and messages, Facebook messages, Skype calls and messages, and Facetime calls and messages are all transmitted over the internet, and as such simply do not appear in any way on phone billing records from the period in which they are made. The only "evidence" of their existence would be in data usage records and it's impossible to pin down what exactly such data usage was for - if my phone record says that I spend 150MB of data on a given day, it's impossible for it to know which apps I was using, and this is even more obscured if one is using Wifi.
So the fact that no messages were found in billing records proves absolutely nothing. I'm sure that senior law enforcement officers would be well aware of this situation, given the headaches it causes in criminal investigations, and as such would have known to use one of the aforementioned undetectable means of communication instead. And several of them - WhatsApp and iMessages, for example - are encrypted in such a way that even the owners of the service are technically incapable of decrypting them without permission from the end user.
This was all set up purposefully because of the US government overreach exposed by Edward Snowden. Tech companies are not to blame for the lack of law enforcement access to these messages and records - rather, American law enforcement agencies acting far beyond their remit and blatantly violating human rights in secret, explicitly caused
the tech companies to massively tighten up their security in such a way that if they were ordered to assist in an investigation, they could honestly answer "well we'd love to, but it's impossible. The software doesn't allow it".
One wonders how much evidence this Tribunal was robbed of because of this paradigm.