Software failure has led to wrong disclosure of crimes in Denmark
The Danish legal system has revised the geolocation data system of mobile operators after the release of more than 30 detainees in Denmark.
Danish law enforcement used the signal from mobile towers as one of the evidence in solving crimes. After detecting a system malfunction in August, 32 prisoners serving their sentences were released.
So, the system recorded only four, if five calls were made from a phone number within an hour. The failure also affected the incorrect location of the cell towers. the same number could be assigned to two or more towers.
According to media reports, the incident led to chaos in families from the United States and South Africa, whose data were identified by the system as crime scenes.
This incident made Copenhagen law enforcement agencies to review more than 10700 such cases since early 2012.
Danish Attorney General Jan Reckendorf called the mobile data situation quite serious:
— “Information that is not accurate sends people to jail. We cannot live with this idea,” — Reckendorf said.
The Attorney General announced the suspension of the use of the software system as an evidence base in mid-August.
— “The decision is very radical, but it must be adopted in a State governed by the rule of law,” — Reckendorf said.
A similar statement was made by Minister of Justice, Nick Hækkerup. He called on not to put the freedom of innocent citizens at risk and to be more careful in resolving court cases.
Director of the Telecommunications Industry Association in Denmark, Jakob Willer, said that these mistakes are not in the field of responsibility of telecom operators: — “Mistakes appear in the interpretation of data, the task of the operators is only to ensure affordable communication of users, and not to control and monitor citizens.”
Willer recognized the value of such information to the police, but emphasized that the data is created to provide telecommunications services, and not for a stakeout.
— “So far, data on mobile phones has been of great importance and value in courtrooms, because this kind of evidence was considered almost objective,” — Danish lawyer, Carolina Normann, commented on the situation. Also, she noted that this case radically changed the view on cellular network data:
— “We will be forced to question the information from the telecommunications company, because we usually ask several questions to witnesses or turn to other types of evidence.”