Measuring Law Enforcement’s Capacity to Leverage Digital Evidence
In early 2017, we released a report on the impact of encryption on law enforcement, providing hard data on the prevalence and impact of unrecoverable encryption and its implications for public safety, personal privacy, and cybersecurity.
For law enforcement, adapting to the digital age is about more than just encryption. The growth of digital technologies and the rise of mobile computing over the past decade have created new challenges and opportunities for law enforcement. On one hand, trends in the adoption of cloud computing, unrecoverable encryption, and anonymization tools create new challenges for the detection, surveillance, and attribution of criminal activity. On the other hand, the proliferation of embedded sensors, digital communications, and ubiquitous connectivity has made more data available than ever before on the movements, conversations, and behavior of people. Adapting to modern times requires new approaches for law enforcement, from budgeting and organization to recruitment and training. Investigating 21 st century crimes requires technical resources, skills, and potentially new authorities.
As a follow-on to our project on encryption, the Technology Policy Program is conducting a study of law enforcement’s current capacity to collect and handle digital evidence, identifying gaps in training and technical capacity, and outlining recommendations to build additional capacity.