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How Technology Can Aid Your Investigations

Updated: May 24, 2020

Attached is a special report from the U.S. Department of Justice. This report is intended to be a resource to any law enforcement personnel (investigators, first responders, detectives, prosecutors, etc.) who may have limited or no experience with technology-related crimes or with the tools and techniques available to investigate those crimes.

It is not all inclusive. Rather, it deals with the most common techniques, devices, and tools encountered. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that the information in this special report must be examined in the context of current technology and practices adjusted as appropriate. It is recognized that all investigations are unique and the judgment of investigators should be given deference in the implementation of this special report. Circumstances of individual cases and Federal, State, and local laws/rules may require actions other than those described in this special report. When dealing with technology, these general forensic and procedural principles should be applied: ■ Actions taken to secure and collect evidence should not change that evidence. ■ Activity relating to the seizure, examination, storage, or transfer of electronic evidence should be fully documented, preserved, and available for review. ■ Specialized training may be required for the examination of many of the devices described in this special report. Appropriate personnel should be consulted prior to conducting any examination. For more information on the seizure or examination of electronic evidence, see the other special reports in this series: Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/ 187736.htm); Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/199408.htm); Digital Evidence in the Courtroom: A Guide for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/ 211314.htm); and Investigations Involving the Internet and Computer Networks (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/210798.htm).

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