Records on the phone

There are a number of records that are kept on a mobile phone by default:

  • Call logs – calls made and received: number called, date, time and duration of the call.
  • SMS - text messages sent and received
  • Photos – album of pictures you have taken
  • Calendars, to-do lists and other notes
  • Contact information and other stored data

Your call records and SMS messages are also accessible by your mobile service provider.

'Remote wiping' software is available which will allow you to remove all the data from your phone if it is lost - this is currently only available in the corporate environment but may spread to the not-for-profit sector.

Call Logs: Depending on the model of phone, it is possible to turn off the automatic logging of calls. Don’t forget that Caller ID means that when you call someone from a mobile phone, the person you are calling can see your phone number, and that this information is stored on their phone even if the call is not answered.

SMS: text messages sent and received are stored in the phone by default. Deleting messages manually is a simple security measure, but if the authorities are taking investigations very seriously these records may be obtained from the mobile operator.

Photos: Using your camera phone at an event? It is a good idea to upload photos straight to a remote server from the phone and then delete them. Be aware that photos taken on mobile phones contain data recording the time and location in which the photo was taken. This data can be removed.

Contacts and other stored data: All contact information stored on a mobile phone is available should the phone be confiscated, lost, temporarily mislaid or stolen. Consider what data you need to store on your phone, especially when you work in dangerous or oppressive situations.