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Altlaw's remote phone collection protocol

| Written by Altlaw

When it comes to collecting data for your eDiscovery case, most is easily attainable with little inconvenience to yourself or your client, however, when collecting data from your client's personal device, this can be an entirely different matter. In the digital age, going without your phone for multiple hours while it is collected is often unfeasible, so what can we do to ensure your vital data is collected without limiting your access to your mobile device for hours at a time? 

In this post, we will take you through Altlaw's remote phone collection procedure, detailing the steps we take to ensure security, efficiency and speed so you aren't separated from your devices for any longer than necessary. 


Step 1: Information Provided -

The first thing we need to know for a remote (or in-person) mobile collection is what kind of device we are collecting from. Certain products have different security protocols etc. that can make changes to the general procedure. Once the custodian provides mobile device information and shipping information, a package is prepared to be shipped to ensure the collection will go ahead with all technical elements considered.

Step 2: It’s On Its Way -

Now we have the device information and shipping address, we can send off a secure micro laptop directly to the custodian via the best courier service for the destination and return journeys. This micro laptop allows us to connect to your phone remotely in a secure fashion. 

At a convenient time, arranged between the custodian and the forensic operator, the custodian fires up the device via the device power button and in a few seconds, the forensic analyst is in control of the device via remote connection.

Step 3: Hook it up -

The custodian will use the cable provided to connect their mobile device to the micro laptop. Once prompted, they will then unlock their device, while our forensic operator communicates with the custodian via the webcam and microphone. It is at this point that the operator will begin taking a forensic image of your phone. This requires your phone to be connected to the micro-laptop for the duration. It is possible to still use your phone during this process (while connected to the laptop) however, we do not recommend this as it can put the forensic defensibility of your data in jeopardy. This process typically lasts anywhere from 1 - 5 hours depending on how much data is stored on your personal device. 

Step 4: Take it with you -

While the collection continues via a secure connection, the custodian is able to get on with their day whilst maintaining custody of their phone. All custodian data stored on the micro laptop is 256-bit encrypt-at-rest, only accessible by Altlaw during EDD (electronic discovery disclosure) processing. This is the main benefit of the remote collection process as the device is easily portable allowing you have your phone collected during meetings, whilst at home or going about other activities in your day. 

Step 5: Filter it -

When the collection is complete and verified, if time allows, the custodian data can be processed and filtered then and there for what is deemed potentially relevant. This allows the custodian to specify exactly what data they want collected. The potentially responsive dataset is then locked and signed off by the custodian for further review. Otherwise, the entire device image is preserved and processed under the instruction of the custodian’s legal advisor.

Step 6: Send it - 

When the custodian gets the all-clear from the analyst, the secure device is booked for return via a GPS-Precision Secure Shipping and Tracking service. The custodian gets on with their day. When received and processed by RSMF, the mobile device messenger data (WhatsApp, iMessage, Telegram, Slack and Signal et al) will present available for review in RelativityOne just as it looks on the custodian’s phone.


This is the standard remote phone collection protocol and is, of course, open to changes in order to better suit your client and your case. Along-side remote collection we also offer in-office collection or in-person collections where a member of the Altlaw team will travel to the location of your data to perform an on-site collection on your premises. To speak to a member of the team about which collection options work best for you head on over to our 'book a consultation' page. 

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