Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read that. In the technical field the word "HYPERLINK" has a very specific and limited meaning, one that might be lost on even a New York Times journalist. To skilled, trained technical professionals, the first question that pops into our mind it "hyperlinked to what? a picture of a doggy or a kitty cat? who cares?"
You can sense what the article it alluding to though. Other phone numbers.
The implication then becomes: okay, cops are applying Bayesian probability algorithms to their investigations, in other words they're working with "maybe's", and not "definitely's"...
This is fine when you can identify that so and so received a call from a person using a stolen telephone on January 1st, and spoke for 120 minutes. You go and ask that person: "Who called you?"
But then, the concern grows out of: What if this is a death penalty case, because a murder was involved?
Did the person holding the phone KNOW that it was linked to a murder? Did the phone get stolen or was it dropped, and reported "lost/missing"? What if the person speaking from the stolen phone was at a party, and someone handed them the phone? How do they know who really stole it?
The second concern is: If I received a call from an unscrupulous pizza delivery boy, who used a stolen cell phone to tell me he's waiting downstairs with my pizza, does that mean MY number's now in the database, and do I now have a percentile ranking for criminal tendencies, since I have a penchant for pizza? Am I going to be put in a facial recognition database, and flagged for more frequent traffic stops, whenever my E-Z pass is detected at a toll plaza?
Is the system smart enough to ignore the receiver of the call, and prune those numbers from the database, anfter a case is closed, or gone cold? Can we trust them when they say "OF COURSE!!!"