Monday, June 09, 2014

#SLA2014 : Julie Clegg - Social Media for Investigative Professionals

(I was not able to stay for the entire session.)

Clegg is a former UK police officer both as a uniformed officer and worked undercover.  Then moved into the intelligence unit.  She used what was then the traditional internet.  Has been in candidate since 2004.  She now teaches companies and people to use the internet as an investigative tool. Toddington International teaches internationally and also does project work.

Living in a digital world is our new reality.  How we communicate is different, as is our language and how we look for information.  There is the surface web, the deep web and the dark web.  She is not going to talk about the dark web today.

34% of the global population is using the internet.  Searching the internet means using different language tools.  English is the largest decreasing language on the internet (less than 40%).

How we connect to the internet is changing.  We're accessing the internet through apps, more than any other way.  The internet of things will also affect how we communicate.

Technology change is happening so quickly and we cannot keep up.  Social change is increasing at half the rate of technology change.  Business change occurs at half the rate of social change.  Legislative change occurs at half the rate of business change.  

"The value of a network grows as the square of the number of its user's increase." - Metcalfe's law

Social platforms:
  • Collaboration and crowd sourcing
  • Blogs and microblogs
  • Content communities
  • Social networks
  • Virtual games
  • Virtual worlds 
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.  
Gaming platforms are very valuable in research and investigation. 

Social media categories
  • Internet forums - Google groups, vBulletin discussion boards
  • Blogs - blogger, Wordpress, livejournal, typepad.  The hayday of blogs was 2007.  People may have older information in their blogs that reveals information about their lives. 
  • Microblogs - Twitter, tumblr, weibo
  • Wikis - gamepedia, wikipedia
  • Social networks - qzone, Facebook, etc.
  • Image repositories 
  • Video sharing - daily motion, live leak
  • Ratings - yelp 
  • Social bookmarking - Pinterest. Redding, Fark
  • Space timers - Foursquare
  • Space locators - Yelp
  • Quick timers - Twitter
  • Slow timers - YouTube
Social media building blocks (identity is in the middle of this graphic):
  • Presence -Foursquare 
  • Relationship - Facebook
  • Sharing - YouTube, Twitter 
  • Indentity - LinkedIn 
  • Conversation 
  • Reputation
  • Groups
A tool can relate to multiple building blocks.

Even if you delete something after 2 minutes, it has already left a trail.

People are using social media during crises and even criminals are updating social media during their crimes.  Unknowingly, people help criminals by posting information about what the police are doing. - you can geo-fence a location and then check of postings from that location.  Free tool. - another geo-fencing tool.  You can begin to de-anonymize people based on their postings.

(I look forward to someone else's blog post on this, since I had to leave early.)

Addendum (6/23/2014): LibraryBuzz has a detailed blog post of this session, with images from her slides, available at 

Addendum (9/26/2014): I never added to this blog post about one of the activities that Julie Clegg did during the session, which involved me.  Here is what I wrote on Facebook on June 10:
My Lack of Privacy: I had to leave one conference session early today. A session where the speaker was a former British cop and who had worked undercover for six years. This speaker was talking about how to discover information about people, using social media, that they didn't want found. And I left early. And then I learned that she had done a search of photos related to the conference, come across one of mine, and the told the crowd what type of phone I owned (which is part of the data stored with the photo). I don't know what she tried to locate on my after that. I just know that a cop that had posed as a hooker, when she worked undercover, had tried to out me!
BTW she talked about tools that would allow you to create a geo-fence to limit what you found to a very specific location. She said that she was going to de-anonymize someone during the session. Heaven help the person that she picked!
In response to the comments that friends made - and some were horrified by what had happened - I wrote:
[Clegg] had already talked with us about the tools used in/with social media/internet information, and what information can be gathered. The bottom line is that we all share an inordinate amount of information without knowing it. That was the point of the demo. She had already demonstrated the information that criminals had shared (stupidly) and talked about how that data can be used. I'm not upset at all with her using one of my photos and telling people what type of phone that I own. That is harmless information. I'm sure that she would not have dug real deep publicly. And given her past life, I don't think she would have put any of us in harms way.
Finally, the session was standing room only, with a crowd listening in the hallways. It is hoped that she might speak at another SLA Annual Conference and perhaps do a workshop on how to use the tools.  If she does that, I can imagine another standing room only situation.

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