Search and Seizure Law for Digital Evidence


Image retrieved from Nassr Al-Saifi’s Blog: Web Trends and Culture

When a crime occurs online, how exactly does law enforcement agencies handle the evidence since it is digital rather than physical? Well the answer is actually quite simple. Even though it is not a physical crime scene, law enforcement still follow search and seizure laws when collecting digital evidence. Unfortunately, according to Taylor et al. (2015), “much search and seizure law has failed to keep up with the changes brought about by increases in digital crimes and the increasing need to collect digital evidence” (240). Therefore like obtaining any evidence whether it is digital or physical, law enforcement must obtain it lawfully.

In order to obtain evidence lawfully, law enforcement must conduct searches with warrants, searches without warrants, stop and frisks, consent searches, exigent circumstances, search incident to arrest, plain view, and searchers by private citizens. An officer must have probable cause in order to obtain a search warrant from the magistrate’s office. Therefore the officer must “particularly describe the place to be searched and the evidence to be seized” (Taylor et al., p. 241, 2015). Though it seems strange searches can also take place without having a search warrant present. As mentioned briefly warrantless searches consist of stop and frisk, consent, plain view, and etc. Consent searches are the most common search method when looking for digital evidence without a warrant. Though when a person withdraws consent the search must stop and law enforcement must obtain a search warrant to continue with the search lawfully. These ways for obtaining evidence lawfully does not only pertain to physical evidence from crime scenes, but they also pertain to digital evidence from cybercrimes.

Cybercrimes are increasing rapidly and it is important for law enforcement to search and seize digital evidence lawfully. According to Forensic Magazine, an article written by Barbara, J (2013), states that “when a computer is going to be seized, the investigator would clearly explain in the supporting affidavit that after its seizure and removal from the scene, it is going to be searched for evidence.” There is not much difference between searching for both physical and digital evidence. Search and seizure laws have developed more prominently due to Congress and the court system. Due to the increase of criminal activity that involves electronic communication, these new laws have “built upon past concepts rather than attempting comprehensively to address the rapidly changing world of digital communication” (Taylor et al., p. 245, 2015). Some statutes that have been created by Congress and the courts include, the Pen/Trap Statute, Wiretap Statute, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and USA PATRIOT Act. These acts and many others were created to help assist law enforcement to obtain and seize evidence that are related to digital crimes. Most laws created had dual functions “besides finding evidence of digital crime, but the laws have been adapted to include such actions by law enforcement” (Taylor et al., p. 246, 2015). Collecting digital evidence might be a little harder than collecting physical evidence, but law enforcement and the federal government making progress in countering cybercrime.



Barbara, J. (2013, October 29). Executing a warrant for digital evidence. Forensic Magazine. Retrieved from


Taylor, R., Fritsch, E., & Liederbach, J. (2015). Digital laws and legislation. In Digital crime and digital terrorism (Third e., pp. 240-256). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Domestic Terrorism in Cyberspace


Image retrieved from The Times of India

Not only do terrorist groups inflict fear in the real world, but they also turn to the internet to inflict fear throughout cyberspace. This especially relates to domestic terrorist organizations in the United States. According to Taylor et al. (2015), “Neo-Nazis, animal rights groups, militias, Black Blocs, and hate mongers all have not only Web sites but clubs, posting boards, news groups, and all other types of Internet communities” (224). With the advancement of the internet, these groups can now recruit people a lot easier and now allows a certain level of communications between these groups. In order to entice new recruits these extremist organizations typically use games, music, or images to spread the idea of what they stand for.

According to the book, there are three D’s that play a role in enticing new members. The three D’s mentioned are dehumanize, desensitize, and demonize. The purpose of the three D’s is that they tend to dehumanize the enemy and desensitize the consumer who is participating in the computer games. Due to some of the racial propaganda in these games, it is believed that being exposed to this kind of propaganda will come “into the mind under the cover of the action will serve to desensitize individuals to the horrors of hate that these groups preach” (Taylor et al., 2015, 224). When a game called Ethnic Cleansing was released, people were outraged over the idea of killing what the game referred to as “subhumans.” There are many more propaganda games like Ethnic Cleansing out there that deliver extremist groups beliefs. With the popularity of the internet, these propaganda games make it easier for domestic terrorist groups to get there ideology out to people. These groups then begin to gain followers who start believing in the same ideologies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation have noticed how much of a role the internet plays in the promotion of domestic terrorist groups. Current FBI Director James Comey believes that another attack like 9/11 will not occur on US soil and believes attacks like 9/11 will occur in other countries. When he was testifying to the Senate homeland security and government affairs committee, he stated that he believed domestic cyber terrorism was the new topic to be looked at. In the newspaper, The Guardian, it reports him saying “cyber-attacks were likely to eclipse terrorism as a domestic danger over the next decade” (Ackerman, S., 2013). Domestic terrorists can cause a lot of harm if they can access the right tools on the internet. An example are the two domestic liberal activist groups, ALF and ELF. ALF focuses on animal rights and exploitation and ELF focuses on environmental issues. These two groups could pose a major threat to critical infrastructure if they were able to enable an attack on the internet. The idea of a cyberattack caused by a group like ALF and ELF has many officials worried. They “remain fearful that domestic terrorist groups will crack into important systems and create severe damage or steal classified information” (Taylor et al., 2015, 223). It is important for the US government to turn its attention to domestic terrorists in cyberspace. Terrorist attacks don’t just happen physically anymore, they occur all throughout cyberspace and that poses a new issue.


Ackerman, S. (2013, November 14). Cyber-attacks eclipsing terrorism as gravest domestic threat- FBI. Guardian. Retrieved from:

Taylor, R., Fritsch, E., & Liederbach, J. (2015). Anarchy and hate on the world wide web. In Digital crime and digital terrorism (Third e., pp. 219-239). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Chat Rooms and Pedophilia on the Internet


Image retrieved from Paper Masters

With today’s technology it is not uncommon to meet new people over the internet. There are many sites developed to meet people, such as dating sites, chat rooms, social networking sites, and many others. These sites may make it a lot easier to meet people, but who really is the person you are talking to? Most of the time these sites seem safe and you only hear bad things that occur from them every once in a while. Now as an adult if I am aware of my surroundings both in the physical and virtual world. If someone I do not know tries to start a conversation with me via a social media site I typically will not respond. Now when I was younger it was a different story when chat rooms were a big thing to be a part of. Even with the popularity of them I stayed away from chat rooms, but had quite a few friends who did. Chat rooms have never really had a respectable following which being a criminal justice major I can see why that is.

Typically with chat rooms you don’t know who the other person is, you just know their screen name. This is a common way for pedophiles to meet their victims. Social sites according to Taylor et al. (2015), “provide a way for pedophiles to come together to validate their sexual interests, share information about their habits, and find support for their behaviors” (197). Cases that involve pedophiles meeting under aged children over chat rooms go unnoticed by the parents until it is too late. When it comes to arresting the pedophiles, police investigators do a really good job at creating false chat room profiles that are most often portraying young girls. One of the reasons police investigators often disguise themselves as young girls, is because they are “targeted at almost twice the rate of boys” (Taylor et al, 2015, p. 180). Even though it is great that police officials are cracking down on pedophiles in chat rooms, the job can be real daunting. According to an article by NBC News, FBI agents who are specialized in online pedophilia stated “that they can get discouraged by the volume of images and the number of people who appear eager to see them.  Bradley, the FBI supervisor, estimated that 80 percent of the customers for child pornography are in the United States.” Chat room pedophiles are not only in the United States, but they are located all over the world.

In London, England a few years back a pedophile was busted and thirty-one kids were rescued as a result. According to D’Arcy Doran, who writes for U-T San Diego, reported that a “team of international investigators infiltrated an Internet chat room used by pedophiles who streamed live videos of children being raped, rescuing 31 children and identifying more than 700 suspects worldwide.” Seeing cases like what was discovered in London are real disheartening to know people are doing this to innocent children. Luckily there are state and federal legislature that deals with pedophiles. The Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act of 1998 was passed and it “prohibits the transfer of obscene material to minors, and increases penalties for offenses against children and for repeat offenders” (Taylor et al., 2015, p. 189). With laws like this, it is good to know that pedophiles who some children meet on chat rooms or other social networking sites get rightly punished and hopefully serve time for their crimes.


Chat rooms help FBI hunt for pedophiles. NBC News. Retrieved from

Doran, D. (2007, June 19). Pedophile chat room busted; 31 kids rescued. U-T San Diego. Retrieved from

Taylor, R., Fritsch, E., & Liederbach, J. (2015). Sex crimes, victimization, and obscenity on the world wide web. In Digital crime and digital terrorism (Third e., pp. 175-218). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Types of Viruses

14xdvueImage retrieved from Michael Pekker’s Blog 27 Malware Types and Their Characteristics

In the last post I talked about the different types of cyberattacks that anyone can fall victim to. In this week’s post I am going to focus more on the types of viruses and malicious codes that can attack your computer. As previously mentioned in the last post according to Pennsylvania State University’s blog, “Viruses replicate themselves, and they survive by attaching to other programs or files.” Since the viruses are able to replicate themselves, this can allow them to remain dormant until they actually cause harm to one’s computer software. Viruses that disguise themselves as harmless files tend to be hard to detect. A virus that is good at disguising itself as a harmless file is the Trojan horse. The Trojan horse virus is well known with computer users, but there are many other viruses that can affect ones computer.

There are a lot of computer viruses out there can harm your computer and can steal important information if they are not taken care of quickly. The common types of viruses are boot sector, program, multipartite, stealth, macro, etc. Some of the mentioned viruses are common with the average computer user, but others typically have not been detected. To go into more detail with the viruses mentioned, boot sector viruses “often spread to other computers by the use of shared infected disks and pirated software applications” (Spamlaws). The most common way to rid a computer of the boot sector virus is having an anti-virus program installed on a computer. The program virus is like the common computer virus. Once it is open it will duplicate itself and begin infecting programs on a computer. Other forms of viruses are when two separate viruses come together and form a new one like the multipartite. The multipartite virus is made up of both the boot sector virus and program virus. The main objective of the multipartite virus is that it “infects program files and when the infected program is active it will affect the boot record” (Spamlaws). The stealth virus does exactly what it sounds like. It disguises itself so it is not detected by anti-virus software. The first computer virus referred to as “Brain” was a stealth virus. Therefore the stealth virus is a very common computer virus. The final virus is the macro virus. With the macro virus, it can become embedded into a document. This type of virus is relatively new so one must make sure that their anti-virus software is up-to-date, so the virus can be detected.

Once your computer becomes infected with a virus it is relatively easy to start seeing symptoms. Typically anti-virus programs help detect and sweep to eliminate them but the ones who are not detected by the spyware programs can cause harm to your computer. Some of the common symptoms one starts to see if their computer has been affected by a virus are computer functions begin to slow down or freeze, the frequent restarting of your computer by itself, and error messages start to show up while using the computer. There are a lot of viruses that can possible harm ones computer, therefore it is important for people to be aware of the different types of viruses out there. In order to protect a computer from the threat of viruses it is important to obtain the proper anti-virus software to defend the computer from future attacks.


Types of attacks. Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved from

Computer viruses: The types of viruses out there. Spamlaws. Retrieved from