Speedster jailed after S’pore police tapped GPS, route data from in-car system

A demonstration of the police’s new vehicle forensics capability at the Police Workplan Seminar 2024. — SHINTARO TAY/The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE: In the first such case in Singapore, the police tapped into the infotainment system of a woman’s car to extract data, which they then used to nab her for speeding.

She was jailed for five days, and disqualified from driving for two years.

The police’s new vehicle forensics capability was revealed at the Police Workplan Seminar 2024 on May 24 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design in Upper Changi Road.

The police said they are preparing to roll it out fully in 2024.

The incident involving the speedster happened in 2022.

The police’s Cybercrime Command received a request from the Traffic Police in late 2022, to extract the data from her vehicle’s infotainment system to investigate a possible speeding offence.

Officers used the tool to extract datasets including call logs, messages and GPS data.

The police said the data confirmed the woman’s identity, and she was prosecuted based on the evidence gathered. She was convicted in January 2023.

They declined to reveal further details, including the car’s make and model.

The police added they are developing their capability to extract data from a vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port.

A proof-of-concept of this was shown at the seminar, demonstrating how telemetry data could be extracted via the port to pinpoint a car’s location, braking and acceleration patterns.

The extracted data can then be used to reconstruct a video rendering of the scene to aid investigators.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a police spokesman said the vehicle forensics capabilities will also apply to other vehicles.

These include motorcycles, as long as the vehicle system can be read or analysed or is compatible with the system the police will be using.

She said: “SPF developed the vehicle forensics capability as there are valuable datasets stored in the vehicle including the vehicle infotainment system and OBD port, which would be useful to aid investigations into road traffic incidents.”

Extraction of the data can take between several hours and days, depending on the vehicle make and model, she added.

Asked what safeguards there are to protect the privacy of vehicle-users, the spokesman said only authorised officers can extract the vehicle data, and all extracted data will be for the purpose of criminal investigations.

She added SPF will work with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency to enhance its capabilities in response to technological advancements in the automotive industry, such as with electric vehicles.

She said: “The Vehicle Forensics Team will be continually developing the SPF’s vehicle forensics capabilities with petrol vehicles. The team will also be broadening their scope to include electric vehicles, which would be of a different make from the traditional petrol vehicles.” – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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