Could digital breadcrumbs land you in jail?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2020 | Computer Crimes

Much of today’s white-collar crime occurs within cyberspace. If it is not happening online, it at least uses technology in some way. This can leave behind clues and evidence that could get you into big trouble. In the past, before computers and smartphones were a regular part of daily life, digital clues were of no concern. It was also quite difficult to catch a white-collar criminal because there were very little clues to go on.

In today’s high-tech world, though, digital clues are plentiful. It is easy to think that you covered your tracks well and did not leave behind a trail of evidence. Thanks to digital breadcrumbs, law enforcement has a way to extract even the smallest bit of evidence from your digital activities.

What are digital breadcrumbs?

Government Technology explains that digital breadcrumbs are simply bits of digital information that can come from anywhere. It could be your computer or smartphone, but also any other “smart” device.

This information can track your whereabouts and give clues about your activities. Law enforcement can use them in a variety of ways to gather evidence to pursue criminal charges. A lot of what they find useful is simple information that you would never think could get you in trouble. A good example is how your digital device may show that you were in one location when you said you were in another.

Law enforcement may look through your contacts to see who you associate with or study messages. They can gather information from search engines or websites that you visit. They can track your movements throughout any given day just from your digital activity.

You leave little pieces of evidence every time you use a digital device, and it is difficult to get rid of every part of your digital footprint. This makes digital breadcrumbs a highly useful tool in combating digital crime and makes it difficult for anyone to cover up her or his activity completely.