Digital Forensics Cellular Location Analysis

Cellular Location Analysis

Despite the increased prevalence of call detail records being used in cases to determine historic location (or CSLI - Cell Site Location Information) and/or user activity, many are still unaware of how valuable this information can be in litigation or investigative matters.

What is a Call Detail Record?

A call detail record contains transactions between a cell phone and the wireless phone network. These transactions are automatically collected by the wireless phone company's equipment and stored for a period of time, anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the wireless company's policies.

The fact that call detail records are created as the result of the customer's phone using the wireless phone company's network provides legal proof that the service (voice, data, and text) is being provided. This means that if you call the wireless company and complain about not getting any service, they will pull your call detail records to see if that is actually the case.

Each call detail record contains technical details about each transaction your phone has with the wireless phone company's network, such as the date and time of the phone call or text message. Each record may also contain the starting and ending cell tower used for a phone call and, in some cases, text messages and data sessions.

How Call Detail Records Are Used

Determining Historic Location

Call detail records can contain the cell tower used for a phone call and in some cases, text messages and even data transmissions. They can associate a phone call or text with a cell tower location to determine an approximate location. This location information is often to establish or discredit an alibi. However, beware that each type of transaction, voice, data, or text, may have different timestamps and location information that is or is not reliable. You need an expert to assist you through that process.

Showing User Activity

Determining user activity in a distracted driving accident is becoming an increasingly hot topic, both in civil and criminal cases arising from motor vehicle accidents.

Compared to a cell phone, call detail records have a limited set of information, which makes them easier for legal counsel to obtain. While the data on a cell phone will tell you more, call detail records can still tell you a great deal of information related to voice calls, call forwarding, and text message and data transactions for particular service providers.

How to Get Call Detail Records

Call detail records can be obtained via subpoena to the wireless phone company. Example subpoena language can be found in our Digital Forensics Resource Packet. This guide also informs you what to expect to receive from different providers.

The Envista Difference: Cellular Location Analysis

There is an increased prevalence of Call Detail Records (CDRs) being used in legal cases to determine the historical location and user activity of a person of interest. However, many are not be fully aware of how this information can make or break a litigated case or investigative matter.

Cellular location evidence needs to withstand all forms of scrutiny, and choosing the proper expert is vital. Envista's cell phone location experts are industry leaders on the subject of cellular technology evidence. They have worked on numerous, well-known, high-profile legal cases and are here to answer any questions, provide a thorough analysis, and help you uncover the truth.

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