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Investigating the Social Web: New Training Helps Investigators Find Criminals and Evidence on the Internet

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 37 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2010 Pages: 34-39
Christa Miller
Date Published
January 2010
6 pages
This article discusses the training available to assist investigators in finding criminals and evidence on the Internet.
This article presents information about a new course offered by the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics (also called SEARCH) that indicates that social networking sites on the Internet can be used as effective investigative tools. Investigators have found that interactive sites offer evidence of all kinds of crimes from phishing and spyware to drug dealing and even murder. The training offered by SEARCH teaches officers how to apply their investigative skills to the Internet. The article also discusses the legal considerations that officers must be aware of when conducting investigations on these social networking sites. Finally, the course emphasizes prevention of illegal behavior by teaching officers how to be proactive in their use of these sites. This includes a program where police departments set up their own profile pages and encourage young people to "friend" them. This way, if a young person is approached online by a potential predator, they have the ability to report the suspicious behavior. By having a profile page, police departments can also post department news, using the site to share information with the community and other local police agencies.