The BBC and other mainstream media are running stories with lots of details about how "Hussain Osman"/ "Isaac Hamdi", the alleged suicide bomb attacker at the Shepherds Bush Tube station, was arrested in Rome.
All of this shows how useful mobile phone communications and location based data can be in tracking down a fugitive who is either ignorant of the technology, or who is desparate enough to risk using it.
However, this also shows that the "hot pursuit" of terrorist suspect does not require the UK and EU government controversial proposals for manadatory Data Retention of phone and internet log files for years, not just those of actual suspects (or to be more precise, suspect phones and computers) but of the vast majority of innocent people's data for years after there is any legal commercial business requirement to do so e.g. to resolve billing disputes.
What will happen to all the mobile phone communications data records belonging to every other innocent mobile phone user who was in the Shepherds Bush area at the time of the attack, which have been trawled through by the authories ? How long will this data be retained for ?
Given the way in which modern database and criminal intelligence visualisation software works, will the reputations , or the police records, of innocent people or even of petty criminals, be smeared through "guilt by association" with a terrorist investigation ?
The British authorities seem to have issued a European Arrest Warrant to extradite the suspect from Italy. We hope that they really do have more than just a mobile phone data to link himm to the scene, e.g. DNA evidence from the failed rucksack bomb, especially as the CCTV images so far released by Scotland Yard do not match particularly well with the photo issued by the Italian authorities.
"Osman Hussain was arrested on Friday in his brother's flat on the outskirts of the Italian capital, Rome.
He was traced using call records from two cell phone numbers, supplied to the Italians by UK police.
Police believe he travelled by train across Europe from London via Paris, Milan and Bologna."
"The suspect's constant use of cell phones betrayed his attempt to find refuge. As well as calling his brother in Rome, he talked to his father who lives in Brescia, in northern Italy."
"A phone centre and internet cafe run by his brother near Rome's Termini railway station is also being searched by Italian police."
The Daily Mirror reports that:
"RAI state TV reported that Osman was traced to his brother-in-law's apartment because Osman had been using the relative's cell phone in London.
RAI said Scotland Yard had told Italian police that a cell phone call intercepted at the location of the July 21 bombing had been in the name of someone who lived in Rome."