FBINAA - May 2022 catalog



Criminals are getting more proficient in using digital technology to commit crimes and hide their activities. With their resources already stretched thin, law enforcement agencies are under mounting pressure to combat this new threat. Solving the problem will take changing investigative methods, workflows, and culture.

T he proliferation of digital devices has been an unintentional boon for criminals. The devices' advanced capabilities have made it far easier to commit and conceal illicit acts today than in pre-Internet days. So prevalent are these devices that a recent report revealed that evidence taken directly from cell phones was used in 96% of criminal cases. At the same time that law enforcement agencies are trying to stay ahead of criminals in the digital technology war, other problems are also hampering their efforts. First, budget cutbacks, early retirements and "defund the police" proposals are straining financial resources. Second, hostility from the very neighborhood citizens they serve and protect add to police burnout and low morale. Third, controver - sial actions by a relatively small number of officers make policing harder for all and undermine community trust. With a "rush to judgment" by the public only a mouse click or social media post away, it's not surprising that law enforce - ment agencies are second guessing how they should police while criminals continue to become more aggressive in committing crimes via their digital devices. THE DATA DELUGE The intersection of tech-savvy criminals and hobbled police forces has led to a growing public safety gap in citizen protec - tion. If it's more difficult for the police to do their job while criminals exploit holes in the system, the public suffers.

With the staggering variety and availability of digital de - vices—cell phones, apps, the Cloud, wearables—it's no wonder that criminals are having a field day while police are struggling to keep up. Interestingly, the devices themselves aren't the prob- lem. The amount of data produced, distributed, and archived is the real culprit. Even in a "simple" case, law enforcement agencies must wade through an ocean of data to find leads, uncover criminal networks, make connections, or identify other areas to investi - gate. More robust encryption capabilities add yet another layer of difficulty. The ramifications of these obstacles affect every part of the investigation: • Important pieces of evidence can be overlooked. • Data can be improperly secured, mishandled, or compromised. • Incomplete analysis of voluminous data dumps can allow important evidence to be missed. BUT ALL IS NOT LOST True, digital devices seem to have given criminals the upper hand, but law enforcement agencies can fight back in two strate - gic ways: bringing their investigative procedures up-to-date and reforming the entire investigative culture.

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