New "Investigating Social Networking Sites" Course Receives Great Reviews

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The SEARCH high-tech crime training course, Social Networking Sites: Investigative Tools and Techniques, received high praise from attendees during its rollout on September 9 and 11, held in SEARCH's training facility in Sacramento.

Information available on social networking sites like MySpace has the potential to impact every area of an investigation. The one-day, hands-on course teaches law enforcement investigators, including high-tech crime, gangs, homicide, vice, property crimes, narcotics, and others how to find and gather information from social networking sites to aid in their investigations.

During the class, SEARCH Computer Crime Training Specialists Lauren Wagner and Keith Daniels demonstrate how to locate information about suspects, victims, witnesses and possible co-conspirators using tools and resources developed by SEARCH.

"This course is useful for investigators regardless of their technical background," said Ms. Wagner. "We teach MySpace profile setup and page enhancement, how to locate and trace users' MySpace profiles, methods to search for relevant case information and a lot more. We pack a lot into the course and the attendees have really liked what they get out of the class and the way it's presented."

SEARCH has also developed a groundbreaking "My #1 Friend is a Cop" program for law enforcement agencies to use MySpace in a proactive way to keep kids safe from online predators.

"It is a requirement of training organizations that they create and teach courses and materials that are cutting edge and effective to investigators in the field. The Social Networking course certainly fulfills this need," said Mr. Daniels. "The MySpace My #1 Friend is a Cop project received very positive reaction. I believe that there will be several departments that will be implementing it in the near future."

Social Networking Sites: Investigative Tools and Techniques attendees receive a license for MySpace Visualizer, a critical investigative tool. Attendees also receive the following documents written by SEARCH staff: How to Effectively SEARCH A Guide for Investigators, and Using the MySpace Friend Mapper to Build Connections for an Investigation. These guides are also available to investigators (only) on our High-Tech Publications page.

Due to overwhelming interest in this course, SEARCH is offering another training session on October 8, 2008.

For more information about other SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training courses, visit our High-Tech Crime section.

Response from Social Networking Sites: Investigative Tools and Techniques Course Attendees:

"This was an impressively structured course. The data, methods and techniques presented were extremely useful and will be helpful in performing my day-to-day responsibilities. The instructors obviously spent considerable time and effort in researching and preparing the material presented during the course. The instruction was effective, concise and well structured."

"Overall a very well done course, as are all of SEARCH's classes. Information on searching and finding information about MySpace pages was the biggest benefit for me. (Using Google cache, etc). Also using the [MySpace] Visualizer, as it will be interesting to see how that works for crimes against children cases."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this class. Lots of crucial information for investigating today's suspects and gangs. The presentation is thorough, examples and exercises were beneficial and applicable to what I needed to learn."

"I like the idea of a department MySpace page, and I'm going to try to get it going at my department. The Visualizer is a great tool and worth the cost of the class."

"Excellent course. I would highly recommend it to anyone conducting this type of investigation. Although I have worked with MySpace in the past, I learned many new things that will help with future investigations."

SEARCH Computer Crime Training Specialist Lauren Wagner teaches new course, Social Networking Sites: Investigative Tools and Techniques.