Barbara Slowik, Berlin’s police chief, told the German Press Agency that the seizure of cell phones poses massive challenges for the Berlin police. The agency’s resources appear barely sufficient to cope with securing and analyzing data from an increasing number of seized data carriers.
Seizure of large amounts of data as a normal case
The police chief also told dpa that the seizure of large amounts of data is the normal case of any investigation outside of trivial offenses. “Large amounts of data are now seized by the police in every area of crime. Whether it’s fraud, murder or arson, we seize at least one smartphone.” On these smartphones are numerous data, all of which the police secure and analyze. Slowik lists chat histories, voice messages, photos and videos here.
Police want additional resources
According to Slowik, valuable insights can be gained from the huge amounts of personal data seized and analyzed by the agency, which is why the resource is appreciated. At the same time, she speaks of this tool being a “curse” because it is “extremely demanding” to analyze the seized data. For this reason, the criminal investigation department is working on automating the data analysis. The ideal situation described is to be able to automatically search chat histories for certain keywords and photos for certain characteristics in order to save manpower and time. This would require “up-to-date technology and software,” but at an enormous financial cost.
Slowik also states that the Berlin police had around three million euros at its disposal for the aforementioned purposes during the last legislative period. She assumes that this sum will also be needed in the coming years to procure new technical analysis equipment as well as additional personnel.