Landscape Study of Digital Tools to Identify, Capture, and Analyze Digital Evidence in Technology-Facilitated Abuse Cases


Published August 2021

This landscape study provides an overview of tools that help the criminal justice community identify, capture, and analyze digital evidence in cases of technology-facilitated abuse (TFA). TFA is defined as crimes committed via digital means to cause emotional and physical harm to victims, such as cyberstalking, nonconsensual pornography, doxing, and swatting. Although closely linked to traditional abuse tactics such as intimidation, threats, and humiliation, TFA happens over digital communication platforms such as websites, social network platforms, dating sites, mobile applications, blogs, online games, text messages, and email.

Technology-facilitated abuse leaves traces of digital evidence that can be captured for criminal investigations, but this evidence is often difficult to find and document. With input from experts in state and local cybercrime practitioners, digital forensics laboratories, and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force members, CJTEC profiled tools that can help investigators ultimately collect evidence that leads to fair adjudication of TFA-related crimes. This landscape study covers tools used to capture digital evidence, which may be left by an abuser on community-based platforms or on the victim's or perpetrator’s private devices. Beyond capture, these tools also can analyze aggregated data to map interactions, and patterns of activity. This report provides insights on topics and products relevant to TFA, as well as guidance for adopting tools which help in planning, reporting, managing, and presenting evidence in court. Although this is not an exhaustive product landscape, the study is intended to educate decision-makers within law enforcement, forensic crime laboratories, and the legal community about the available tools and considerations for use.

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CJTEC’s Rebecca Shute and Tyler Ovington summarize key findings from the Landscape Study on Field Portable Screening Products.
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