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Subpoena Power

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 28 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2001 Pages: 102-104,106
Andrew Donofrio
Date Published
July 2001
4 pages
This article discusses how understanding Internet Protocol addresses can bring investigators closer to a suspect.
Many thieves and scam artists reap vast profits conducting online criminal activity. Most of these cases become computer crime cases, in which high-technology law enforcement officers are consulted. There is a lack of technologically trained detectives, so general case detectives must have a basic understanding of how to conduct these investigations. The success of the majority of computer-related investigations lies solely in the power of the subpoena. However, investigators may be forced to file numerous subpoenas before a perpetrator's identity can be revealed. Investigators must have at least a rudimentary understanding of the online technology to know what information can be derived. In order for communication to take place over the Internet, users must have an Internet Protocol (IP) address. When a potential suspect is identified through an IP address, it is the beginning of a process involving interviews and follow-up investigations to examine motive and opportunity and to support the identification.