As criminals make use of new technologies to further their illicit activities, law enforcement organizations should empower their investigators with the best, most advanced crime analytics tools.
Enabled by a growing array of widely accessible, easy-to-use hardware and software options, criminals are finding ever-more-complex ways to cover their tracks. For an investigator, that means that tracking an illicit transaction could involve texts on a burner phone; encrypted messages via apps like WhatsApp, Signal, or Viber; emails on numerous platforms; Bitcoin transactions; and so on. It’s not unusual for a single criminal action to involve as many as 10 applications across four platforms. Routine law enforcement now requires the ability to understand and decode a continuously growing list of constantly evolving technologies.
The situation is even more daunting at the agency level. A single subpoena of chat transactions may bring back terabytes of structured and unstructured data. Manually compiling relevant information from such a surfeit of data can take months. For law enforcement agents, wringing investigative value from billions of dissimilarly sourced data points presents a variety of new, technical challenges.