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working or not. They may not be leaving the house anymore
and are working under-the-table somewhere. They might just
be sitting on their couch with a laptop. Depending on the claim,
you need to make sure you are asking the right questions during
an interview or EUO, or on a benefits affidavit or similar form.
Don't assume that since someone is injured or had surgery, that
the individual isn't still earning money.
Government regulations is the third area we will see affected
in 2022. Several states, including Oklahoma, Iowa, Florida
and Louisiana, are already progressing with bills that allow
users to sue social media companies if an individual's
free speech is restricted. Some governments are making
regulations specific to political candidates, while others are
making it more general with regards to politics and religion.
Even the U.S. Congress is looking at potentially revamping
the Communications Decency Act which currently protects
social media companies from liability for the content posted
by their users. California has continued to shape and reshape
its Consumer Privacy Act. Other states like Virginia have
passed laws prohibiting the sale of their citizen's personal
data upon request. As we move into 2022, we can expect to
see more bills introduced that may go beyond protected
speech, and look at terms of service agreements, access, and
more. Plus, the definition of PII/PHI is adapting as well. So,
expect to see more regulations on facial recognition and
voiceprints coming to a state house near you.
Speaking of voiceprints, audio may be making a resurgence as
well, but not in that outdated podcast way. The pandemic saw
a quick rise in fame for the social media platform Clubhouse,
which is akin to a virtual invite-only audio party. If you are
asked to join, you can jump into a chatroom, listen to the
speaker or speakers, and even engage with them, much like
you might do in a conference session. Clubhouse has a lot of
celebrity users and the exclusivity of it has probably helped
grow its appeal. Its popularity has caught the attention of
Twitter and Facebook. Expect to see new audio apps from those
Twitter and Facebook, along with Spotify, Reddit, and more in
2022. You need to start planning for how you will ingest this
information. Like video content, are you going to listen to it
all? How will you save it as evidence? What kind of metadata
will you get from it? And most importantly, how are you going
to validate it?
On the bright side, technologies are being developed to assist
with all these things. In 2022, we will start to see a lot of new
analytical products for fraud fighting entering the market,
especially for social media. We will see a rise in Artificial
Intelligence being leveraged to help wade through the noise
and confusion, especially around videos and audio. We just
need to be prepared for it. Get your digital records/evidence
policies on a minimum 12-month review process, updating
as often as social media platforms if you need to. Make sure
you have, or are developing, a digital records retention policy
as well as policies dealing with electronic evidence, social
media access, etc. Remember, anything collected today like
a username, video, photo, etc. may very well be considered
PII tomorrow if not already. That means you should treat
it now like it already is, versus trying to deal with massive
amounts of it later.
I am frequently asked if there are 'standard' industry policies for
this and there are none that I am aware of and that's probably a
good thing. Every line of insurance, company, firm, or agency
has multiple factors that need to be considered and a standard
policy would not provide the flexibility we all need. Just like
every SIU is different, policies need to be handcrafted for that
unit or company. Even the National Institute of Justice, which
has put out a Digital Evidence Policies and Procedures Manual,
states that it is a starting point for law enforcement, not a guide
set in stone. But this might also be a good resource to look at
if this is a first attempt at drafting a policy. Better yet, use your
network through this organization to ask your peers, get ideas,
and troubleshoot. That's why we are all here, isn't it?
I hope to see you in Orlando, and until next quarter, be safe
and happy hunting.
Joe Stephenson is the Director of Digital Intelligence Solutions for INTERTEL, Inc. and
is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Social Media and Open Source
Intelligence (OSINT). A former Board of Director for IASIU and past President of the
New England Chapter, Joe welcomes questions; please connect with him via LinkedIn.
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