The image of a trench coat wearing detective on a dark, rainy street in Los Angeles or Chicago, while a noir soundtrack plays softly beneath the detective’s inner monologue is one with which most of us are familiar. The days of those types of detectives are fading though, and a new breed of private detective is taking to cyberspace to help their clients.
Using computer forensics techniques, detectives are able to glean information from digital devices far more quickly and easily than if there were just engaging in surveillance. When the detectives take courses in learning how to find information on all of the different digital devices in use today, they will be able to retrieve text messages, find hidden photos, and more. This new age has opened up a lot more possibilities for those who are in the private detective field.
Detectives will find that having this knowledge is useful in a number of different types of cases. They will be able to retrieve information from a GPS to learn where their suspect traveled. They can check into the online chats or messages from a spouse who may be cheating. They can determine if a digitally created document had any alterations.
Of course, you need to be able to access these items. It is legal to gain access to the items and data stores on computers and other devices as long as authorization comes from someone who has the right to the data. It could be an employer or spouse who hires the detective, and if they have the right to the data – meaning it’s on a shared home computer, a shared phone, or a company owned computer or device – the detective will be able to access it.
While it might not be as romanticized as the Sam Spade styled detective, the new world detectives have a ton of tools at their disposal that good old Sam would have probably loved!