Texting behind the wheel? N.Y. cops may have the tech to find out

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N.Y. cops may soon be able to instantly check if you were using your phone while driving.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cellebrite, the Israeli tech firm which helped the FBI hack the iPhone 5c at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case, is reportedly working on a “textalyzer” device that will allow authorities to find out whether a person as unlawfully driving while using their smartphone.

The device would initially be used in New York, where proposed legislation may let law enforcement officials access certain cellphone information — without a warrant — to find out whether drivers are distracted at the wheel.

To get around the Fourth Amendment’s stated right to privacy, Cellebrite’s textalyzer will reportedly keep conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private; revealing only whether the phone was in use at the time.

The proposed law making this possible is called “Evan’s Law” after 19-year-old Evan Lieberman, who was killed by a distracted driver in New York in 2011. Lieberman’s father, Ben Lieberman, is co-founder of a lobbying group called Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORCs).

The bill is currently in committee in the New York State Senate. If the legislation passes, Cellebrite will have to bid on the project, alongside other firms.

Cellebrite was in the news again earlier this week after claims were made that it is “optimistic” about hacking the iPhone 6, just as it did previously with the less-secure iPhone 5c.

Apple, for its part, has continued to push its focus on the subject of user privacy and encryption, although it has also acknowledged that there will likely never be a point when its devices are completely uncrackable.

Source: Ars Technica