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News Posted on July 3, 2014

Professor Imwinkelried Comments for Washington Post on Cellphone Data Evidence

Professor Edward Imwinkelried commented for The Washington Post on the use of cellphone records as evidence.  Cellphone records are often used to establish a user's whereabouts at a given time, but the accuracy of such data has sometimes been overstated by investigators, the article states.

"As well-intentioned and completely honest as some of the prosecution experts are, I don't think they have that deep understanding of how the [phone] network systems operate," said Imwinkelried. Neither the cell phone nor the cell tower determines which tower a phone connects to.  Rather, that decision is made by the computer network which is primarily designed to balance the load over all the towers in the network.  As a result, in many cases a cell phone does not connect to either the nearest tower or the one with the strongest signal. 

Cellphone data will become more useful as judges and  attorneys develop a better understanding of cell-tower technology, Imwinkelried said.

Professor Imwinkelried is a world-renowned evidence scholar and has published extensively in the field.

The Washington Post