People like to talk. That's what we do, even when we know it's not the best thing to do. Gossip, spreading rumours, bragging -- if something happens, you know someone will talk about it -- someone always cracks.
Law enforcement officials, lawyers and investigators have always known this. That's why social media is a godsend; it makes it easier for people to spill the beans and there's a record of it. Whether it's for actual online activities, or for information about offline events, social media offers a whole new investigative tool.
According to 2014 Lexis Nexis Study (Law Enforcement’s Usage of Social Media for Investigations), already 86% of investigators are using social media 2-3 times per month in the course of their duties. Using social media helps solve crimes quicker (76% of respondents thought so) and can even prevent crime (67% say it helps in anticipating crime).
For all the power of social media investigation, it's still not institutionalized as a formal procedure. Investigators, in many cases, can't access social media from the workplace. There are few formal training procedures in place. The top brass have not come around and give it their full support. And, perhaps worst of all, there is no system and process to properly collect and preserve the evidence.
Collecting Social Media Evidence
How do investigators collect and preserve social media evidence? How do they ensure the chain of custody is unimpeachable? How can they authenticate the evidence so that Courts will accept it without question? After all, we all know that digital information is easy to create, and thus easy to fake or alter.
Up to now, it seems there has been a hodgepodge of different techniques, with different investigators coming up with their own potential solution. A Screenshot or print screen is just a first step. Beyond that, solid social media evidence requires:
- Saving the Metadata,
- Saving the source code,
- Adding a timestamp,
- Authenticating with an E-Signature,
- Creating in multiple formats,
- Manually exporting to eDiscovery tool
For this multistep process, the investigator needs multiple programs. What a hassle!
Luckily, just as technology is at the start of the problem, technology can also offer a cure.
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WebPreserver is an innovative, archiving resource for litigators, legal enforcement officials and digital forensic experts. With the installation of a simple plugin you can capture snapshots of content from websites, blogs and social media. Keep these snapshots in our cloud or download when you need them. All content is authenticated for use as evidence in litigation by a secure time stamp and e-signature.
How WebPreserver can be of use to your firm.
WebPreserver provides a tool for both sides of litigation to preserve evidence to support and protect (future or current) cases and to archive content in the likelihood of edits, tampering or deletion.
This technology takes the onerous, costly responsibility out of monitoring and social media content as part of eDiscovery proceedings, whilst also enabling you with the additional ability to store, organize and share files securely with clients and colleagues.