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Investigative Uses of Technology: Devices, Tools, and Techniques

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2007
174 pages
This report provides basic information to law enforcement and other criminal justice personnel who may have limited or no experience with technology-related crimes or with the tools and techniques available for investigating those crimes.
The first chapter describes a variety of techniques and resources that may assist in investigations. The first few pages of the chapter discuss traditional investigative techniques as they relate to advanced technology. The remaining sections of the chapter review technologies that may affect the investigation. Topics addressed are investigative assistance, information gathering, digital evidence, electronic communications, telecommunications, video surveillance, consensual monitoring, and tracking. The second chapter provides general descriptions of the technology-related tools and devices that either may be encountered in an investigation or may assist in the identification and examination of electronic evidence. An overview of their function and usefulness is provided, and other special investigative considerations are discussed. Where applicable, the chapter describes how individuals use these devices to facilitate the commission of crimes. Among the tools and devices discussed are battery-operated devices, access-control devices, answering machines and voice mail systems (digital and analog), digital tools used to conduct examinations of audio formats, caller ID devices, cell phones, and computers (desktops and laptops). The third and final chapter begins with a review of fourth amendment principles, focusing on seizing and searching computers and other electronic devices. This is followed by a review of statues that, in some cases, provide more protection than the fourth amendment. Investigators, examiners, and prosecutors should be familiar with these requirements because their breach may result in evidentiary challenges or civil suits. 17 references and appended glossary, technical resources list, hacked devices, disclosure rules, and sample forms

Date Published: October 1, 2007