This landscape study produced an overview of tools that help criminal justice personnel identify, capture, and analyze digital evidence in cases that involve “technology-facilitated abuse” (TEA).
The study defines TEA as “crimes committed via digital means to cause emotional and physical harm to victims.” Examples of TEA are cited as cyberstalking, nonconsensual pornography, “doxing” (publishing personal information without the subject’s permission) and “swatting” (false reporting of an emergency to public safety agencies). TEA is perpetrated via digital communication platforms such as websites, social network platforms, dating sites, mobile applications, blogs, online games, text messages, and email. Technology-facilitated abuse is accompanied by traces of digital evidence that can be captured as evidence in criminal investigations; however, this evidence is often difficult to find and document. The current study profiles tools that can be used to identify and access digital evidence that may be left by an abuser on community-based platforms or on the victim’s or perpetrator’s private devices. In addition to capturing such evidence, these tools can also analyze aggregated data to map interactions and activity patterns. This report discusses topics and profiles products relevant to the investigation of TEA cases. It also provides guidance in adopting tools that assist in planning, reporting, managing, and presenting evidence in court proceedings. This study is intended to facilitate the work of criminal justice personnel in the fields of law enforcement, forensic crime laboratories, and the legal community.