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Investigation with social networking tools

Dec 27, 20061 min
IT LeadershipPhysical Security

By Paul Kerstein

The New York Times reported earlier this month about a Canadian police officer who used YouTube to aid with an investigation of an apparent murder near a nightclub.

Known as crowdsourcing, as media and news blogger Jeff Jarvis referred to it, it’s a way to use a “smartposse,” which allows investigators to work with Internet citizens to collect and disseminate information, as well as find more “eyeballs” from a crime scene.

According to the article, the detective realized that if he wanted to communicate with the young 20s demographic, he would need to use the same social networking tools that his children used. He posted a surveillance video on YouTube which showed two men that the police wanted to question entering the nightclub.

Although the use of YouTube was not successful in this case, the Canadian detective felt that the experiment was worthwhile and would use the method again.

I find the concept fascinating, especially from a corporate security perspective. Background checks, travel safety and supply chain security quickly come to mind, and are just a few of the areas where crowdsourcing can be useful. What do you think?