How We (Sometimes) Roll: Low-Tech Investigative Tools in a High-Tech Practice

Microfilm-620x250We investigators sometimes straddle the old and new worlds, mixing classic gumshoe style with crazy-modern processing power.

In his otherwise very well-done piece on the evolution of PI tools over the last twenty years, Jonathan Stelly jumps the gun somewhat by tossing some tried-and-true investigative techniques into the dustbin of history:

“Gone are the days of the investigator having to dumpster dive or drive to local libraries and spend hours scouring the microfilm, hoping to finding some shred of beneficial information pertaining to their investigation.”

Anyone who knows me and my investigation and consulting practice is aware that I often rely on some of the most highly evolved technological services, software solutions, and extra-fancy gizmos available on the planet. Being a Mac & iOS Certified Forensic Examiner, a Social Media Intelligence Analyst, and an Apple Certified Support Professional, I spend a lot of my time in front of some form of über-fast, flat, glowing glass rectangle.

Yet there are plenty of times when all that modern wizardry isn’t worth the anodized aluminum holding it together.

Reading Stelly’s piece was striking to me, since that very week I had just finished a case where the information we needed – the information that made all the difference for our client and put all the pieces together – was available only by spending several hours at the local library poring over a stack of 45-year old phone directories, and then finding the needed case file by scrolling through rolls and rolls of microfilm at the county courthouse.

To be sure, those cases are not the norm (and of course when I found the case by microfilm, I updated the clients in New York and Europe instantaneously by text message and by uploading PDFs scanned using my OCR-capable smartphone). But there are plenty of times when turning to old-school investigative techniques can make a big difference.

Here, then, are some examples of low-tech investigative tools we can still benefit from using in a high-tech practice:

Click Here To Read The Full Pursuit Magazine Article

About securityteknews
Ralph Thomas is author of over 32 books on various aspects of conducting investigations, founder and director of The National Association Of Investigative Specialists,CEO of Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc, The Spy Exchange And Security Center and SpyTek Wholesale Imports. Thomas is a member of the Executive Security Council of Griffith Colson Intelligence Service, a private intelligence agency. Thomas's latest project is NAIStv on the Griffith Media TV Network. He has also developed A Native American Store in Georgetown Texas called Tribal Impressions. You can review his person home page off of: http://www.pimall.com/thomas

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