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Fingerprints in WhatsApp photo helped in arresting drug dealers

Talha Saqib Written by Talha Saqib · 1 min read>

WhatsApp being an encrypted messaging service gives security agencies a very hard time to uncover the tracks of the criminals who make use of this app. But, recently according to BBC report, a very interesting case has emerged from the UK as a photo retrieved from WhatsApp eventually helped in convicting 11 drug dealers.

What actually happened is that after an arrest in Bridgend, west of Cardiff, police got hold of a WhatsApp account, through which a photo of a man holding ecstasy tablets in the palm of his hand was discovered.

As obvious from the photo, only the middle and bottom parts of the finger were visible, which weren’t enough to match any fingerprints stored in any national database. However, from the other evidence, the officers had a suspect in mind and by matching the very small portion of fingerprint available with just that person, it solved their case.

“While the scale and quality of the photograph proved a challenge, the small bits were enough to prove he was the dealer,” said Dave Thomas from the scientific support unit. He added, “It has now opened the floodgates and when there is part of a hand on a photograph, officers are sending them in.”

The report states that these arrests in Wales are first of its kind – made through fingerprint obtained from a photo. Also, ironically that the dealers specifically used WhatsApp for its end-to-end encryption but ultimately got busted just through a photo shared through the service. Highlighting the fact that there is no such thing as privacy in the world of technology

A police officer told that the offender was “not thinking it showed part of his hand and there was potentially a fingerprint.”

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Written by Talha Saqib
Well, I am Talha. An introverted fellow pursuing a degree in Computer Science from FAST-NUCES. In past, I've been a freelance graphic designer which I still am to some extent. My deep interest in technology and reporting has made me do what I do here - cover tech news. I may look like a nerd but I am more about movies, TV shows, anime, art and especially video games. In any case, you can reach me out on Twitter: TalhaSaqib101 and Facebook: talha.saqib.9 Profile