UNT Cyber Lab to Focus on Cellphones Used in Crimes

The lab's director says he's gotten a lot of interest from police departments and other agencies in the area for its cyber services



Described as the first lab of its kind in Dallas-Fort Worth, the Criminal Justice Department at the University of North Texas is on track to open a new cellphone cybersecurity lab at the UNT New College in Frisco that could help solve crimes.

In a news release, the university said that the off-site instructional facility will be the North Texas region’s only lab solely dedicated to analyzing cellphone data from devices that were used in crimes. Construction of the lab is made possible by a $350,000 donation from an unidentified alumnus who wanted to fund the project because it will help solve crimes.

Scott Belshaw, associate professor of criminal justice and cyber lab director, said the goal of the lab is to accelerate the investigative process for as many local police departments and federal agencies as possible.

“It’s my job as director of the cyber lab to get that information out quickly.”
Scott Belshaw

“What we’ve found is that cellphone analysis is a major need for North Texas law enforcement,” Belshaw said in the release. “There’s such a massive backlog. Think about crimes involving cellphones -– law enforcement needs the information in them, and they need it fast. It’s my job as director of the cyber lab to get that information out quickly.”

Belshaw said he would like the lab to operational by fall. He said he’s excited to use to use the cyber lab to teach criminal justice student at UNT skills that will help them gain an edge when competing for jobs.

“Cyber investigation is where everything is,” Belshaw said. “It’s where students are going to get jobs. We want to make sure when they get out, they’re trained to do it.”

Belshaw said he expects the lab will have plenty of law enforcement clients.

“I’ve had conversations with the FBI, with local police departments and they’re all excited,” Belshaw said. “They think it’s going to be great.”

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