- What challenges do law enforcement agencies face in using the data collected through the mobile ecosystem?
- How can law enforcement, commercial entities, and policy analysts better understand the types of data that exist in the mobile ecosystem and the laws regulating law enforcement's use of such data?
Mobile phones, the networks they connect to, the applications they use, and the services they access all collect and retain enormous amounts of information that can be useful in criminal investigations. However, state and local law enforcement face two substantial challenges when accessing these data: (1) maintaining awareness of the sources and nature of commercial data available to an investigator and (2) determining the legal rules for access to these data. This report explores these issues and describes the development of a prototype tool — the Mobile Information and Knowledge Ecosystem (MIKE) — intended to help law enforcement, commercial entities, and policy analysts explore the mobile ecosystem and understand the laws regulating law enforcement's use of data contained within the mobile ecosystem. The tool might also serve as a mechanism for sharing best practices in electronic surveillance.
The Mobile Ecosystem Presents Law Enforcement with Two Major Challenges
- It is difficult for law enforcement agencies to maintain awareness of the sources and nature of commercial data available to an investigator; law enforcement may be overlooking helpful information because officers are simply unaware of its existence.
- It is often difficult for law enforcement agencies to determine the legal rules for access to these data, since there is often uncertainty about how to interpret existing surveillance law with respect to mobile technology.
Addressing These Challenges
- A map-like tool, in which information can be readily edited, revised, and extended like a wiki, could help a wide range of stakeholders understand and stay up to date on how information is shared within the mobile ecosystem, what types of data exist within the mobile ecosystem, and the legal protections that govern access to such data.
- Such a tool might also serve as a mechanism for sharing best practices in electronic surveillance.
Table of Contents
The Electronic Surveillance Challenge
Our Project Was Designed to Meet the Needs of Key Stakeholders
How MIKE Was Developed
How MIKE Works
Assessing the Value of MIKE: Stakeholder Reactions
Permissions Enabled by the Core-Apps Product
The research reported here was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and conducted within the RAND Justice Policy Program, part of RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.