Intercettazioni e tabulati telefonici

Phone records: who can request them and how to protect yourself from them

The phone records can be a dangerous tool, if in the wrong hands.

But what can we do to avoid this problem and, in fact, to prevent the existence of phone records that can be accessed?

Just to answer these questions, today we want to explain what is a phone record, what is its content, who can have access to it and how to avoid problems related to it.

 

Phone records: what are they

When we talk about phone records, we mean databases similar to some charts, that contain those called external communication data.

Basically, it’s about documents that contain the details of the communications exchanged by a certain telephone number in a certain period of time, such as calls, SMSs and data traffic.

What do they contain

The external communication data contained in a phone record concern a series of information, such as:

  • the phone number of the caller, the one who makes the call;
  • the phone number of the receiver, the one who receives the call;
  • the communication’s type, which can be a call, an SMS or a missing call;
  • the lasting of the communication, specified in minutes and seconds in case of call, or as zero duration in case of SMS or missing calls.

The content of the records can report further information, if it refers to mobile users, especially:

  • the BTS engaged during the call: BTS is an acronym for Base Transceiver Station; during every call, the calling cellphone engages one of the cell towers, so, through the triangulation system, it’s possible to identify in which geographical zone the interlocutor was, at the moment of the call and, consequently, to trace back their position;
  • the code IMEI of the smartphone or the cellphone used for the communication;
  • the code ICCID of the used SIM.

So, from a simple record, it’s possible to trace back a series of fundamental information about the made-call, especially with reference to the location of the BTS antennae and of the data related to the caption of the users in contact.

The information are the same, in case of data traffic as well.

What they DON’T contain

Once you’ve identified the phone record, we need to specify what, on the contrary, this doesn’t contain.

Indeed, by requesting a printout, it’s not possible to obtain:

  • the record of the call made;
  • the copy of the messages exchanged;
  • the info related to the emails sent andd received;
  • the data of the visited websites;
  • the info and the content of the messages exchanged on WhatsApp.

Basically, the phone record doesn’t provide data related to the communications and its content, but just the data out of it.

Through this, you can track back the existence of a communication, and you can deduce, even if approximately, the location and geographical area where the person was at the moment in which it happened, and the code of the mobile device and SIM used for the call, the message or the data traffic on the Internet.

Nevertheless, we should be aware that the telehone operators can make available only the phone records of the communications of their users, but they can’t keep copies of the calls or SMS, because it would be an actual cyber traffic tap, not just of a simple phone record.

The restrictions, though, also concern those same telephone records: indeed, the operators can keep just for a certain period of time, which changes according to the records, whether if it’s related to calls and SMS, missing calls or data traffic.

How to acquire a phone record: who can request it

The request of the phone records is normal routine for the judicial authority for cases of homicides and other crimes.

In these cases, it’s requested a copy of the records directly from the service provider, in order to identify the contacts data, what were the recent contacts of the victim, what were their registered locations and, in particular, what was the position of other users at the moment of the homicide.

Every operator has channels dedicated to collaborate with the judicial authorities and make it easier and immediate the acquisition of the phone records of any operator.

Even in your small way, though, you can acquire the phone records of a series of operators.

Telecom Tim’s phone records

If your service provider is TIM, the detail of your calls is consultable directly from the TIM website, from which it’s possible to see or download Tim’s phone records.

It will be enough to go to the homepage, click on MyTim, insert user and password to connect to your account.

Once you’re connceted, verify that up in the page the tab MyTim Mobile is selcted, select the Cost Control button and then, Details and traffic fees.

Now, you can choose the period of time that you’re interested in by selecting the prefixed options, choosing to set them manually or with Analysis from.

Moreover, you’ll be able to choose if you’re going to watch the details of the calls or to download the details about the traffic as a PDF, by clicking on Download.

It’s possible to access to your own phone records as well by app: once you accessed, click on the panel at the bottom, on the right, and then on Movements.

From here, let’s select the Traffic chart and choose the period you’re interested in, choosing, this time, among the last 7 days o 30 days.

On the website and app, you’ll have access to the records dated back to the previous 2 months, and the last 3 digits of the called number are blurred.

In order to have instead access to previous periods and/or with thoroughly visible numbers, you’ll have to request them to the service provider to get a paper copy.

In that case. go on the Forms section of the website, click on Related download under the heading Traffic documentations request.

Download the PDF form and fill it, and then send it through email to this adress:

TIM Client Services, Post code 555 00054 – Fiumicino RM

 

3’s phone records

Also for the Three’s subscribers, it is posssible to watch the phone records by accessing to Costumers Area on the website or by app.

Once you’re connected to the site, access to your costumers area, select the item Costs control and then Traffic details.

Choose the period you’re interested in among these:

  • last day;
  • last week;
  • last 7 days and current partial month.

At this point, click on Display and access to the phone record that you prefer; as an alternative, you’ll be able to download it as a PDF or XLS by clicking on the related download button.

If you want to download it from the app, select on the menu of the homepage Services and traffic, and choose one of the options linked to the period of time or opt for Advanced research to trace back a specific period of time.

In cases where you want a paper copy of the records, it’s possible to request it by fax at the number 800 179 800, indicating: the Three’s phone number, the period of interest, which has to be not before the 6 months preceding the request’s day, the address to where you want to receive the copy and the attachment with a double-sided copy of a valid ID.

Wind’s phone records

Also for the ones who want to track back Wind’s records, it is possible to have access to them using Wind’s website or the related app MyWind.

On Wind’s website, access to your personal area, select Your traffic and the arrow below Top-up, by clicking on Call voice.

Now, you’ll see the details about the calls made on your number, while you can download the records as a XLS by clicking on Save.

As previously mentioned, MyWind’s app gives the possibility to get the phone records, by logging into it and selecting Traffic and Costs from the drop-down menu and the option Item.

If you’re a Wind Rechargeable client, the detail of the calls dates back to the last 30 days; if you’re Wind’s client with a membership, the record reaches the last 6 months if you access from the website, or the last 30 days if you do it from the app.

The existing numbers in the call details appear to be with the last three digits that are overshadowed.

In order to have the traffic details unencrypted, you could send a written request with a copy of your ID to the address:

Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A. – Post Code 14155, Post office Milano 65, 20152 Milano (MI).

Vodafone’s phone records

For what concern Vodafone’s records, you need to access to their website, go to Traffic and consumptions and select Cost control and then Traffic details.

Choose the period of time that you want to see from the drop-down menu or select it manually, then confirm.

Select the kind of traffic you want to see and click on Details to access to your calls details.

The record is downloadable as PDF, XLS or CSV as well by clicking on the Download  button below.

You can access to it also through My Vodafone’s app, clicking on Costs and traffic of the menu, selecting from here as well the period of time you need.

In this way, you can have the details of the calls made in Italy and abroad during the last 180 days.

In order to have the details of the incoming calls, this can be dangerous just in criminal cases at the price of 23,68€ + IVA for every period of and user, with a request sent by fax at the number 06 509 23 705 or by post a the address:

Vodafone Italia S.p.A. Security Operations & Privacy – Ufficio Indagini Difensive & Forensi, Via della Grande Muraglia,75 – 00144 Roma.

Phone records’ analysis

It’s important to analyse the phone records in order to understand and exploit its content in a proper way.

Just to begin,the first thing to do is to verify that the record has been correctly acquired, and with ”correctly” we mean the necessity for it to be respecting the standards of the digital forensics.

Let’s remember that we’re talking about digital data and they have to be acquired in a digital form: the paper print is valid just as a support in cases of a trial, but the acquisition has to be digital.

Indeed, the digital version of the record permits to maintain the data intact and avoid and stop potential alterations, whether voluntary or unvoluntary.

On the other hand, with the paper copy of the record, it’s not possible to verify if the data contained in it are genuine or the result of alterations,

An example of an unvoluntary alteration could be the case of an accidental deletingof some information during the printing.

The use of the phone records

For what concern the use of them, the digital version of the phone records can be analysed in a different way, based on the demands.

Basically, the main reasons why we use them are:

  • to identify if the resulting data are compatible or incompatible with certain geographical locations;
  • to rebuild the network of relations among the contacts of various users and, so, among a series of people.

Valuations of the records

Tendentially, we use an evaluation of the phone records in specific cases, such as murders and  incitement to suicide, organised crime and criminal association in general, and the ones which concern the reasearch for missing people.

The evaluation consists in an analysis of the content of the data from the records at stake and this can happen through some tools or softwares specially designed to analyse the info in a proper way.

When we’re talking about restoring geographical locations, the phone records can give us information that sometimes are not precise, so it is necessary to proceed with a territory sampling in order to find feedbacks with what’s in it.

In fact, the identified geographical position based on the range of a BTS is approximate: this measure can change for a series of reasons, that go from the climate conditions to the features of the territory, including the urban context and the events in the area, but also for the malfunction of the BTS antennas or for every other fact that can influence the accuracy and the clarity of the range.

How to protect your records

Based on what you have just read, it is easy to guess how the possibility that your phone records with the related data and call details could easily end up in the somebody else’s hands, first of all, in the ones of the judicial authority.

In order to prevent it,there are a series of apps, that allow you to keep you communications anonymous.

One of these is Crypty Talk: an app for smartphones created by Crypty Secure, which guarantees the anonymity and the privacy of the calls, messages ans data traffic, in order to keep them safe from the requests of records or potential tappings.

Moreover, using the VPN, it’s even possible to alter your position, in order to result in another part of the globe, completely different from the actual one.

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