Analysis of the ‘Open Source Internet Research Tool’: A Usage Perspective from UK Law Enforcement
Internet Intelligence and Investigations (i3) are a fundamental investigative tool of the modern law enforcement official (LEO) in an always-connected online era. Ensuring LEOs follow good procedure for such investigations is critical for both law enforcement and society, as it ensures consistency, rigor and transparency. Procedural issues lie with online evidential capture, however. For example, it is not feasible to directly apply digital evidence methodologies one would for ‘offline’ digital forensics; instead, one must apply best practices and a consistent ap-proach. How those best practices and consistent approaches apply will typically fall to individual forces. One such tool in the arsenal of law enforcement is the ‘Open Source Internet Research Tool’ (OSIRT), a free all-in-one browser that assists law enforcement in conducting i3 in a standardized manner. This paper analyses and discusses the results of 32 questionnaire responses from serving LEOs in the UK and their use of OSIRT. Results showed that LEOs found OSIRT to be helpful to them and compared to their previous method of conducting online investigations, OSIRT offered an improved system to conduct online investigations in many instances.