Cellebrite Denies WikiLeaks 'Spy Files' Claims, Defends UFED Mobile Forensic Technology

Mobile forensic specialist Cellebrite has strongly denied claims made in a recent WikiLeaks release dubbed 'The Spy Files' which referred to it as part of the "global mass surveillance industry."

Following on from the Carrier IQ controversy, whistleblowing site WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released details of companies responsible for what he claimed was government led monitoring of mobile phone communications, including the interception of voice calls and text messages.

"Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a BlackBerry? Who here uses Gmail? Well, you're all screwed," Assange frothed at a press conference announcing the release. "The reality is, intelligence contractors are selling right now to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all those products."

Cellebrite, one of the companies named in WikiLeaks' 'Spy Files,' has come forward to deny that it has any hand in government monitoring, instead claiming it offers forensic analysis tools to help in the recovery of evidence during criminal investigations.

"We absolutely refute the WikiLeaks 'Spy Files' claims," the Sun Corporation-owned company explained in a statement to press issued late last night. "Even a cursory glance at our company material will make it quite clear that Cellebrite is not involved in the surveillance or cyber-spying of citizens in any way whatsoever.

"Cellebrite develops, manufactures and markets the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), which empowers law enforcement authorities around the world to extract and gather evidentiary data from mobiles devices, which will stand up under scrutiny in a court of law."

Co-chief executive officer Yossi Carmil added his own comments to the announcement, claiming to be "proud of the role [Cellebrite] plays in fighting crime. We have been instrumental in helping solve cases of child abuse, drug dealing, tax evasion, anti-terror activities and more. The UFED has been recognised as a powerful tool to extract valuable information from a wide range of mobile devices, suspected of being used in or facilitating the commission of a crime."

The company has admitted, however, that 'certain models' of UFED are designed to pull personal data from handsets - including, but not limited to, contact databases, saved messages, images, videos and stored GPS location fixes - but claims that this can only be achieved once the handset is in the possession of the investigating officer as part of the chain of evidence.

"UFED cannot be used to observe and monitor the movement and activities of citizens - criminal or not. Neither can it be used to 'hijack' someone's iPhone, implant viruses or to 'bug' phones and other mobile devices in use and still under control of their owners," the company concluded.