6 November 2023
[FYI request #24378 email]
Tēnā koe Mason
Request for information
Thank you for your Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request of 9 October 2023
requesting information relating to products and services used by New Zealand Police.
1. Police manual chapters and policies for the use of Cellebrite in the extraction and
analysis of cell phones. I understand this includes Cel ebrite Universal Forensic
Extraction Devices (UFED), Cellebrite Physical Analyser, and Cel ebrite
Pathfinder, which includes automatic classification functions
list.pdf at 14).
2. Are these three separate tools/systems, or are they commonly used as one
suite? i.e., a device being subject to both Cel ebrite Pathfinder (manual) and
Cellebrite Physical Analyser (automatic) as standard practice.
3. Any material on the procedures, features, or protocols that are in place to audit
Cellebrite use. For instance, are a searching officer's viewed file paths stored and
compared with the scope of authority under a search warrant? How often? What
logs are recorded? Is that data then held centrally?
4. The number of devices searched using Cellebrite. Please also indicate how this
data is categorised so I can file a follow-up request for a specific category.
I have responded to each part of your request in turn.
As referenced in your first query, Police has proactively disclosed a Technology
Capabilities List, with the most recent version being updated in April 2023. This lists
Cellebrite Pathfinder, Cellebrite Physical Analyser, and Cellebrite Universal Forensic
Extraction Device (UFED)
To provide context around Cellebrite use, the Digital Forensics Unit (DFU) within the High
Tech Crime Group carries out or has oversight of al mobile phone forensics work
undertaken for Police.
Police utilises several forensic tools including Universal Forensic Extraction Device
(UFED) deployed on laptops or Touch devices. The data extracted with these devices is
Police National Headquarters
180 Molesworth Street. PO Box 3017, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.
Telephone: 04 474 9499. 04 498 7400. www.police.govt.nz
processed in and reported from Physical Analyser (PA). Police has utilised various
models of UFEDs over the last decade. Police uses Cel ebrite Pathfinder as a data review
platform in investigations.
Further public information of these products is available at the following links:
• UFED - https://cel ebrite.com/en/ufed/
• Physical Analyser - https://cellebrite.com/en/physical-analyzer/
• Pathfinder - https://cel ebrite.com/en/pathfinder/
Police manual chapters and policies do not cover specific information relating to
Cellebrite in the extraction and analysis of cel phones. Cellebrite provides online training
that police can access and has help functionality built into the applications. Accordingly,
this part of your request is refused under section 18(g) OIA as the information requested
is not held by the department or venture or Minister of the Crown or organisation and the
person dealing with the request has no grounds for believing that the information is
(i) held by another department (for itself and for a departmental agency hosted by
it or an interdepartmental executive board serviced by it) or interdepartmental
venture or Minister of the Crown or organisation, or by a local authority; or
(i ) connected more closely with the functions of another department (for itself and
for a departmental agency hosted by it or an interdepartmental executive board
serviced by it) or interdepartmental venture or Minister of the Crown or
organisation or of a local authority.
In response to your second query, they are three separate products, which can all be
used in a single case depending on the type of case and data sought.
In response to your third query, extraction information is held on each UFED unit and at a
central location. These are statistics, not specific information on the extraction, and inform
the answer to your fourth query below.
The warrant(s) or informed consent provide the scope for the search of the data, and the
outputs of these searches are recorded across various mediums and platforms specific to
the investigation. This information is not stored central y and cannot be easily collated.
There are no specific procedures, features, or protocols that are in place to audit
Cellebrite use, noting that access is limited to trained staff and any relevant evidence
obtained via an extraction that is used in any criminal proceedings wil be disclosed to
defence and subject to scrutiny.
Accordingly, this part of your request is refused under section 18(e) of the OIA as the
document al eged to contain the information requested does not exist or, despite
reasonable efforts to locate it, cannot be found.
In response to your fourth query, device searches and categories are not recorded
centrally or available. Extraction counts are calculated annually on the usage of the
Cellebrite UFED products and in 2022 total ed 7,440 successful extractions. This includes
multiple extraction on the same device, or peripherals such as SIM cards.
Under section 28(3) of the OIA, you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to review this
decision if you are not satisfied with Police’s response to your request.
Nāku iti noa, nā
Detective Senior Sergeant
High Tech Crime Group