In recent years, data creation has grown exponentially. In 2010, worldwide, about two zettabytes of data was created, copied, or consumed. In 2020, an estimated 64.2 zettabytes of information was created, increasing to 79 zettabytes in 2021. And, in 2022, it is estimated that we’ll create 97 zettabytes of information. While most of this data is innocuous, a small amount of it can help federal, state, and local government agencies solve crimes. At the same time, criminals are using technology in more sophisticated and harmful crimes involving gambling and child pornography on the dark web, and abusing programs intended to help people, most recently through COVID relief fraud.
To keep up with these criminal advancements, investigators must have the right tools to be able to meet today’s challenges. U.S. federal, state, and local investigative agencies from small, local police departments to the FBI that don’t invest in data-ready tools, will struggle to catch criminals, and end up wasting valuable time and resources. In a recent FBI investigation, for example, agents seized six petabytes, or about a 3,000 billion printed pages of data. Without the assistance of advanced technology, investigators would waste incalculable hours analyzing that data. No matter the mission there are some important factors for modern investigators to consider when exploring investigative technology solutions.Download the eBook
Today’s investigations require modern technological solutions. However, with many solutions coming to market, it can often be a challenge to identify which are fit-for-purpose. Investigators should consider certain factors, including speed, scope of data, and precision when researching new solutions partners and tools. Technological solutions should be state-of-the-art, but easy to learn and use, and include training and support. These reinforce a seamless transition from the old system, so crucial investigation time isn’t lost.
Some of the technology that state-of-the-art investigative solutions have embraced, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), help investigators work smarter. Between open and dark web data, video and photo evidence, cell phone data, and criminal and missing persons databases, an investigation can include countless hours of data and evidence to examine. AI-enabled technology means that large amounts of data can be sifted through far more quickly than they can be by a person, allowing the investigative team to focus on high-value tasks, or applying unique insight and analysis to a data that’s already been triaged. Old methods of manually looking through all the data and evidence can slow down investigations while tying up key investigators.
It’s imperative for investigators to not only embrace, but also understand the new solutions available to them. While investigators have access to more advanced tools than ever before, so too do criminals. By understanding the advanced tools available and how they best can assist, investigators can take advantage of the multitudes of data to continue the fight against illicit narcotics, human trafficking, terrorism, fraud, and other crimes.
To read the 2022 Government Investigations Technology Guide, Effective Investigations in the Modern World: 9 Factors to Consider When Selecting an Advanced Solutions Partner, click here.