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iPhone Recovery Stick Pulls Deleted Messages and More

As phones become more central to people’s lives, they’re also treasure troves of information that can reveal where people have been, who they’ve been communicating with, and what they’re doing online. But just as deleting a file from a computer doesn’t magically make its data disappear from a hard drive, deleting a text message or clearing a phone’s Web browsing history doesn’t mean that information is gone…just less accessible. Florida’s ProofPronto wants to help iPhone users step into the arena of data recovery—and, yes, even snooping—with its iPhone Recovery Stick, which can pull text messages, call histories, Web browsing history, photos, voice memos, appointments, and more from an iPhone.

“Until now, there was no simple way for parents, spouses, or business owners to recover deleted data from iPhones,” said Atlas Technology Group VP Scott Graubart, in a statement. “The technology behind our product is a game changer for law enforcement, and will be equally important for the safety and security of families and businesses around the world.”

The iPhone Recovery Stick takes the form of a USB data stick: users first connect the target iPhone via USB, then pop the iPhone Recovery Stick into another available USB port. The included software then proceeds to scan the iPhone for recoverable data; depending on the state of the iPhone, the process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. However, the type of information that can be recovered is extensive, including call histories, Web browsing history, photos, voice memos, map history, dynamic text data (what the iPhone “learns” to assist with predictive text input), contacts, calendar and appointment information, and (of course) SMS messages.

Currently the iPhone Recovery Stick only works with iPhones running iOS 3.2.1 and earlier, but the company promises a version supporting iOS 4 should be available soon.

The ability to recover deleted data from phones is hardly unique—data recovery experts as well as law enforcement personnel have been doing it for years—but ProofPronto is aiming to take the service mainstream with its product. Obviously, products like this have a significant potential for misuse: where it might enable someone to recover crucial data off their phone in the event of damage or other problems, there are obviously illegal uses for the technology.

ProofPronto is offering the iPhone Recovery Stick for $197.95; although they don’t offer refunds for the included software, they do have a 90-day exchange policy in the event of a physical defect with the stick. Purchase also entitles the buyer to a year’s worth of software updates.

Atlas Technology is the parent company of Proof Pronto, which makes a number of other investigative and forensics products.

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