Officer Labs: Cellebrite Guardian

Oct. 5, 2023
Cellebrite has developed Guardian, a digital evidence and workflow management system that is cloud based.

Low staffing is a common problem among departments across the nation; the ratio of workload to staff very imbalanced. This can cause an array of obstacles which impede investigations from being worked properly. As we all know, maintaining chain of custody, and documenting each part of the evidentiary process is integral to the success of a case’s outcome.

This article appeared in the July/August issue of OFFICER MagazineClick Here to subscribe to OFFICER Magazine.

One of the roadblocks every department faces is the battle of outdated technology. Almost every crime nowadays has at least one cellphone involved. The process of submission to the lab to data extraction, analysis, reporting, return and review is tedious, time consuming and riddled with technical issues. It can take weeks or even months to complete or sit in a backlog to be addressed later. This can mean that rather than evidence being a driving force in an investigation, it may only end up corroborating leads, or worse, not being ready to use in time.

Cellebrite has developed Guardian, a cloud-based digital evidence and workflow management system. Guardian handles each element of the evidentiary process from collection to courtroom and all the steps in between. Not only does the system track and maintain full chain of custody, it allows detectives, examiners, prosecutors, and other case stakeholders to view all data easily. There is no need to wait for digital evidence to be returned on a physical device or to wait for your computer to download and load the digital evidence files for review.

Guardian is as easy to use as a cellphone. Investigators receive an email in real-time alerting them the data from the phone in question is ready to view. With a few clicks, detectives can find all the information they may need, directly in their browser.

We were given a demonstration of the platform and were shown firsthand how easy and effective it is. Once deliverables have been shared, the investigator receives an alert. From there, the investigator can review various categories of evidence collected from the phone. Cellebrite Guardian includes everything from apps, messages, device information and locations. This means the investigator has the phone’s make, model and serial number, along with other data necessary to the investigation at their fingertips. In addition to that, the information may be securely shared with other parties working on the case. For instance, if an investigator is working on a case with other counties, they can easily share the information digitally, without making a physical copy. Copies get lost or sometimes do not work, but this way, digital files may be shared in real time. If a department has internet access, they can use Guardian.

The system also allows investigators to quickly share the files with other personnel such as attorneys, and to make the process even faster, detectives can tag certain photos and pieces of information that are directly relevant to the case. This cuts down on hours of sorting through extracted data.

“The ability to track chain of custody, ensuring each “t” is crossed when it comes to a case, is a huge benefit,” said Cellebrite’s Ryan Parthemore, Director of Enablement SaaS Solutions. Parthemore also stated that Guardian allows departments to be transparent and ensure their cases are defensible, meaning no stone is left unturned in investigation. Parthemore stated the system helps investigators do their best

Guardian allows any police department, no matter the size, to move from harboring physical thumb drives and discs that take up space in an evidence room, to storing all of the necessary data in a secure, easy to use cloud solution. It’s an impressive product to which we gladly give our “Tested—Field Rated” award.

Hilary Rodela is a private Investigator, freelance writer, podcast co-host and a former Editor with the Officer Media Group.

This article appeared in the July/August issue of OFFICER Magazine.

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