DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas Criminal Justice Department is on track to open a cellphone cyber security lab at the UNT New College at Frisco. The off-site instructional facility will house the area's only cyber laboratory solely dedicated to analyzing cellphone data from devices used in criminal activities. Cyber lab director Scott Belshaw says the goal is to connect with as many police departments and federal agencies as possible to accelerate investigation processes.
"What we've found is that cellphone analysis is a major need for North Texas law enforcement," Belshaw said. "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."
Through relationships created by the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series, construction of the cyber lab was made possible by alumnus Steven Holmes who donated $350,000 for its creation. He says he wanted to fund the project because it will impact all of North Texas and facilitate an investigational need to help solve crimes.
"What they are trying to do is link up as many police departments and federal agencies as possible," Holmes said. "This is an important issue that people don't give enough attention to."
Belshaw hopes to have the cyber lab up and running by fall and is excited to teach UNT criminal justice students skills that will help them have a competitive edge in the workforce.
"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."
As for interest from law enforcement agencies, Belshaw says he expects the lab to have plenty of 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."