You might feel alone, sitting in the dark in your house, with no one else around. But if you’re online, whatever you’re doing can be traced back to you. It’s a fact that many people in Michigan forget while they’re committing crimes with their computers. Whether it’s downloading child pornography, looking up instructions to make a homemade bomb, or posting naked pictures of your ex online, if you’re breaking the law with an electronic device, there with be digital breadcrumbs for the cops to follow. The electronic device can be a cell phone, laptop computer, desktop computer, tablet or a host of other possibilities. Michigan law covers them all.
But I erased everything! How did they figure it out?
We’re not talking about hiding the porn sites you visited from your wife, which only requires going back and deleting those pages from your computer’s browser history (unless she’s a tech wiz). This is an entirely different kettle of fish. Very highly skilled fish, who’ve made it their business to know as much as possible about how to navigate their way around the complex world of digital data.
So how’s it done? Well, for starters, you need to understand that records are stored of every single piece of online communication made from an electronic device. Texts, emails, transactions, instant messages, social media posts and other forms of online conversation are all stored. Sometimes in the device itself, sometimes in an online-based backup system like the cloud, and sometimes both.
Mobile devices these days all use cloud-based backup systems.
This means that if you downloaded child porn on your phone, a police investigator can find evidence of those images or videos in your cloud backup system, even if you later deleted it! In fact, some of those images might be stored on your phone’s internal memory or your memory card. For example, the cloud stores an average of 1,000 – 1,5000 or more of the last text messages that were sent to and from your phone.
So just because you deleted it off your phone, doesn’t mean there isn’t a record of that conversation still waiting for the cops in your online backup system. Sometimes these text messages are also stored inside your cell phone. (Just ask former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick..You can find him in federal prison now. He was convicted based in large part on text messages that were retrieved from his cell phone.)
Another thing that phones do these days is store information about where the device has been, and when it was there. So if someone was the driver for a planned drive-by shooting, and they later tell the police that they were 20 miles away from that spot when it happened, eating an ice cream in McDonalds, their phone will either corroborate their story, or prove them a liar.
Why? Because your phone knows exactly where you were at all time (as long as you have the device with you.) Your cell phone pings the cell towers as you drive from zone to zone. Cars with satellite navigation systems and satellite radios in cars do a very similar thing – keep track of exactly where the vehicle was, and when!
Big brother is always watching you!
It’s important that you know the facts. Just because you feel like you’re alone when you’re doing something, if you’re online, or using your phone or computer, know that you ARE NOT ALONE! Every picture you take, every video you download, every message you send or website you visit can be tracked by law enforcement. Once they have a warrant to access your device, or access your cloud storage, Certified Digital Media Examiners working for the police can dig up all kinds of information that you probably thought was well hidden. So the best advice we can give you if you don’t want to be caught is: Don’t do anything illegal online!
If you or a loved one have already run afoul of the law, and have already been charged with using a computer to commit a crime, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). Our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience defending the people of Michigan against criminal charges. We also have access to some of the best expert defense witnesses in the digital field.