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Digital Defense Begins at Home

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 37 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2010 Pages: 16,18,22
Ronnie Garrett
Date Published
April 2010
6 pages
This article emphasizes the importance of local law enforcement agencies becoming involved in the detection and investigation of cyber (digitally related) crime and provides guidance on how this can occur.
Since cybercrime or cyber-related evidence typically involves the Internet, whose network and users extend beyond the geographic boundaries of a local or State jurisdiction, local law enforcement agencies must be prepared to seek help and cooperation from the FBI, the Secret Service, or a high-tech task force. Local first responders to any crime must also consider that digital evidence may be involved in the investigation of various types of crime. Consequently, first responders should know the three C's of digital technology: content, contact, and cost. "Content" refers to the information that a given digital device might contain, i.e., words, pictures, or video. "Contact" pertains to how a given device may be used to communicate with others. "Cost" refers to the legal risks that may be involved in how individuals use a digital tool. Knowing the three C's helps first responders ask the right questions when determining the appropriate technology to seize in an investigation. In order to assist local law enforcement agencies in being more proficient and effective in dealing with cyber crime and cyber evidence, the National Center for Super Computing Applications (NCSA) and the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) developed a new tool, called the Cyberinvestigation Law Enforcement Wizard (CLEW). The CLEW, which is planned for release in late 2010, enables first responders to quickly and easily collect cyber evidence, ask the right questions, and preserve evidence for further investigation. This article also discusses how local police can work with Internet service providers in obtaining digital evidence.