SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Team Debuts New Social Networking Course for Prosecutors

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On June 19, SEARCH's High-Tech Crime Training Services Program presented a new social networking training course designed for prosecutors. This four-hour course, still in beta form, was presented to approximately 60 prosecutors and investigators from the Santa Clara County (California) District Attorney's Office.

Based on SEARCH's long-standing course for investigators and detectives, Social Networking Sites: Investigative Tools and Techniques, the new course addresses the following topics, with an emphasis on the needs of prosecutors:
  • An introduction and history of social networking websites
  • An overview of the current status of the most popular social networking sites including the most recent changes to those sites
  • How information is searched for, located, and retrieved from those websites (especially critical information that can be used as evidence)
  • An overview of a typical investigation of a social networking site
  • How the MySpace Visualizer is used to map up to 1,000 "friends" on MySpace.com
  • Ample time for questions and answers from the audience

"The beta course went smoothly and thanks to the thoughtful feedback we received from the course attendees, we will be making adjustments to our presentation before offering the course on a national basis," said Rich Harris, Director of SEARCH's High-Tech Crime Training Services program.

"The course will be available to individual prosecutor offices across the country, as well as to state and national organizations and associations such as the California District Attorneys Association, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Association of Attorneys General."

Prosecutors across the country have been requesting training on social networking sites such as MySpace.com. This is because prosecutors have been seeing more and more cases that involve critical evidence found on such sites. For example, MySpace.com can be a treasure trove of evidence and investigatory leads, including videos, photos, instant messages, and blogs in cases involving homicides, gang shootings, sex crimes, frauds, terrorist threats, as well as most any other type of criminal activity.

Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery said, "The June 19 class… was absolutely perfect. Your trainers provided the best training session of the year."

Organizations or associations interested in this course should email Rich Harris.