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The Effectiveness of Social Media Screening and the Impact of Increased Anonymity and Encryption in Policing

Project: Research


Due to the anonymity of cyberspace the effectiveness of social media screening can be brought into question. As Internet activity, especially criminal activity, increasingly happens within highly encrypted such as Signal or within highly anonymous environments such as 4chan, private fora and the Darkweb it is unsure if screening activities will be able to effectively identify potential red flags. One of the biggest efforts to reduce online anonymity and increase transparency and repercussions of online activity has been the South Korean Internet Identity Verification System. It is unknown if a system like this would influence user behaviour and improve social media screening if implemented within the UK.

The aim of this project is to scope the relationship between criminality and social media use within one police force, to report on current practices in dealing with social media and criminality and to assess whether there is potential for improvement within current resources. The focus is not specifically on online offences but rather it is on the social media use of offenders, in order to identify whether early indications of offending are indicated.
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/22