Conducting Investigations in A Digital World

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Conducting Investigations in A Digital World

Detectives have certainly come a long way from drawing chalk outlines in order to solve cases. We have moved into the digital age in which detectives and other law enforcement officials can be more effective behind a computer screen than behind a magnifying glass. These days, an investigator can build an entire case against a suspect using completely digital evidence, often referred to as “digital DNA”.

New Technology = New Techniques

Now, instead of actually physically trailing a suspect, an investigator can also follow their electronic history. While many private investigators do still perform stakeouts and surveillance, technology has made these tasks much easier. Now, investigators can look at GPS information or set up hidden cameras in order to track the comings and goings of individuals while building a case. Thanks to technology, an investigator can seemingly be in several places at once.

The tools and resources at the detective’s disposal are rapidly improving every year as well. Software is continually being developed for the sole purpose of collecting data such as emails, saved Word documents, calendar information, Internet browsing histories, text messages, and much more. The software collects the data and delivers it directly to the investigator or law enforcement officials in order to reduce the risk of complications in the case.  Click here to learn more about these digital investigative techniques.

Because of these new methods of investigating, the way modern investigations are conducted are constantly changing and evolving. Private investigators have to act very delicately as they collect data and present it to the courts. An investigator may piece several pieces of digital “DNA” together in order to ensure that they have a very strong case.

Case Examples

For example, if a husband is accused of adultery, the private investigator may use the GPS data from his car to prove that he spent a significant amount of time at his mistress’ home, enough time to have the opportunity to cheat. However, this data alone may not be strong enough; someone else could have been driving the car, or the GPS information could have been hacked. The detective may pair the data with video recordings of the man entering and exiting the home, as well as correspondence between the two via text messages or emails, creating a solid digital body of evidence.

When all of these elements align, the investigator has created a strong case using these modern methods of investigation. In today’s word, everyone is constantly leaving behind digital DNA. Even the head of the CIA cannot hide his misconduct thanks to digital forensics. Investigations in 2012 and beyond are rapidly changing, and digital evidence is quickly becoming the most influential factor.