SCI/TECH: Textalyzer

Photo credit: poka0059 via / CC BY-NC-ND

by Emily Carrigan, Delia Maresco, Daisia Payne–

A proposed piece of legislation that is being accompanied by a new piece of technology to help hold distracted drivers more accountable in New York is causing quite a bit of controversy.

The technology is being called the ‘Textalyzer’ and is comparable to a breathalyzer in how it is intended to provide field testing for mobile phones and other electronic devices on drivers involved in accidents.

The proposed bill states that after an accident, a driver would be required to give their phone to law enforcement for roadside testing using the Textalyzer to see if the driver was using their technology at the time of the accident. People who refuse to hand their devices over will have their license suspended.

Many feel that the Textalyzer is an invasion of privacy, though developers of the device say it will not provide law enforcement with any personal information, like contacts or transcripts of any text conversations. It would simply be able to detect if any cell phone activity was occurring at the time of the accident.

To add to the controversy, Cellebrite, a technology company that deals with data extraction on mobile devices, is rumored to be developing this new technology. Cellebrite, located in Israel, is also known for aiding the FBI with breaking into the iPhones used by the San Bernardino shooters.