On his way home from school, a 10-year old London schoolboy dies as result of a violent attack. Four teenage boys are later put on trial for his murder. A prosecution witness testifies that she saw all four of them on the housing estate where the younger boy died, around the time of the attack. However, the teenagers are acquitted. Their mobile phone records show that they were somewhere else at that time.
How? Cell ID
Whenever a mobile phone makes or receives a call, the network operator records ‘call information’. This information can help settle billing disputes. Call information includes
- handset location (cell ID)
- the calling and called numbers
- the length and time of call
In this case, it was in the teenagers’ interest to have their call records revealed in Court. The records convinced the jury that the boys were innocent. But the records could have been faked. How?
But imagine the phone records showed the teenagers were near the crime scene at the time. Would disclosure of the records infringe their rights?
Goals, Rights and Responsibilities
Goals are things we aim for. Rights are things that are due to us. Responsibilities are the things we owe others. It is often useful to see how these interact in a particular situation.
1 Draw up a table with four columns and four rows. Label these different actors as rows: the teenagers, their lawyers, the police and the victim's family.
2 Make three columns for each actor. Label these goals, rights and responsibilities. Fill in these columns for each actor, by thinking about the situation.
3 Compare your table with one done by a classmate or friend.