Law Enforcement Overwhelmed by Digital Data
A recent article gaining traction in the media highlights how Law Enforcement is overwhelmed by the number of investigations and the mountains of digital data that need to be reviewed. Although this challenge is not new to law enforcement, some of the information outlined in the article is eye-opening:
- On average Downloads of digital data take law enforcement 6 to 8 months to review
- In a recent case, police spent 600 hours combing through digital material
The article focused on the UK Criminal Justice System, but this challenge is commonplace for Law Enforcement agencies all over the world. As the use of technology has increased, the processes and procedures used by investigators do not scale to meet the needs of the modern-day investigation.
A recent study concluded that 85% of today’s investigations involve some form of digital evidence, but manual processes and human review alone are no longer sufficient to solve crimes in this digital age. Society’s reliance on modern technology for communication and social interaction has only grown with the advances of mobile devices. On average, a person will spend over 2.5 hours on their mobile device per day, this has resulted in 90% of all digital data being produced within the past two years.
The statistics on Social Media are equally amazing as every minute:
- Snapchat users share 527,760 photos
- More than 120 professionals join LinkedIn
- Users watch 4,146,600 YouTube videos
- 456,000 tweets are sent on Twitter
- Instagram users post 46,740 photos
One of the challenges in a digital investigation is having to obtain someone’s digital footprint from multiple sources such as social media or cloud service providers. Third party providers are not able to respond to requests overnight and when the data is received, the output can vary from a single piece of paper to terabytes of encrypted data.
After the data is received, the investigative team must sift through every photo, video and text message to uncover the vital pieces of data relevant to their investigation. The volume and complexity of the digital data can make it difficult to find the right information in the critical early hours of an investigation. These challenges are why in many cases, digital evidence is not used as a formative lead source, but as supporting evidence to an ongoing investigation.
The challenge is daunting, and the typical answer has been to rely on digital forensics. While many providers have tried to address the need, the key to success is to implement a Digital Intelligence Platform. These critical components include:
- Acquiring digital data quicker by obtaining public data and bypassing the need to wait on third-party providers.
- Reviewing the data with AI and other advanced analytics putting the focus on only data pertinent to the investigation.
- Displaying digital data in an easy-to-read format for convenient review.
- Creating actionable data that allows investigators to accelerate the time-to- evidence and resolve more cases faster.
Law enforcement is overworked and overwhelmed with the number of investigations and the large volume of digital data that may be related to a case. As the tools of the criminals change, the investigator must change the tools they use as well.
Cellebrite has been a partner of Law Enforcement agencies all over the world in their fight against crime for over 20 years. Our Digital Intelligence Platform gives investigative teams the timely access they need to devices and cloud data as well as the analytics tools to review the data; removing the need for time-consuming human review.
The result is actionable data from which Law Enforcement can accelerate the time to evidence, resolve cases, prevent future criminal activity, and create a safer world.