Using cyberspace as a resource for investigations need not be intimidating to law enforcement executives.
“Cyberspace is a bunch of people, connected to a bunch of things, doing a bunch of stuff,” said Gregory King, senior instructor and program coordination with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Financial Fraud Institute within the Investigative Operations Division. “That’s all it is. It is no more complicated than people. And we are always investigating people.”
The power of the “digital footprint” was a recurring theme in Mr. King’s presentation on Saturday morning at IACP 2011, as he described how information posted online is truly never lost and can be accessed at any time with the right tools (keep Google Groups and Archive.org on your list of frequently accessed resources).
“By understanding what digital signatures and digital footprints give us, we can allocate resources, whether they be manpower or dollars,” Mr. King said. “We can cut out two-thirds of a search area based on a digital signature.”
What about those chiefs who might say they don’t need this information—that if detectives understand this technology, that’ s all that matters? Executives are essential to the equation, Mr. King stressed. Executives are ultimately responsible for all aspects of an investigation, and executives define and direct investigations.
Mr. King’s two-hour session included a discussion of criminal tendencies in the online arena, legal responsibilities of law enforcement, and a work-through of a case scenario. For more information, email Mr. King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IACP 2011 continues at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois, through October 26. For information, visit http://www.theiacpconference.org. To receive notifications when new blog entries are posted, click the “Follow” button on the upper left of your screen.