/ Modified sep 19, 2019 2:45 p.m.

ICE buys gear to pull data from mobile devices

The $28.2 million contract is with a company that says it can unlock Apple and high-end Android devices.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has cut a deal to spend millions of dollars on tech tools that can unlock mobile devices and glean their data.

A government website says the devices are for use by an Internet-crime fighting arm of ICE that helps with cross-border investigations, and the contract is worth $28.2 million.

The money is to pay a company called Cellebrite, which announced in June that it had could unlock and pull data from all Apple and high-end Android devices.

About two weeks later, ICE gave notice that it planned to award Cellebrite a contract for “universal forensic extraction devices.”

The notice said Cellebrite was the only company that could meet the agency’s needs. The deal was made official on Sept. 12.

A spokesperson for Cellebrite said the company had no further comment beyond ICE’s notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

An ICE spokesperson emailed a written statement: “The agency does not comment on law enforcement sensitive information, such as the current or potential tools, tactics and procedures our special agents and/or officers may implement for law enforcement activities.”

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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