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Chen Guangcheng

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

When Chinese civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng first arrived in the United States, he was given a number of gifts by supposed supporters of his cause.  As it turns out, two of those gifts–an iPad and iPhone given to him by a local family who claimed to share his visions–may have been loaded with spyware capable of tracking his movement, as well as mining data and recording communications made on both devices.  It is not yet publicly known who was doing the spying, but it is fortunate for Chen that the devices were screened by technicians at NYU, where he was given a one-year fellowship, before he was able to use them.  This is the latest incident in a decade’s worth for Chen, who seems to invite controversy everywhere he goes. For a private investigator, the detection of spyware on electronic devices is one of the first tasks undertaken when conducting technical surveillance countermeasures.

Who do you think was doing the spying?  Purely a speculative question, but as a foreign national who came to America to flee persecution, should the U.S. government be able to keep an eye on what he is doing?  Should anyone?

It is fairly common practice for “those that do” to use spyware to gather key intelligence. Spyware is a general term for special code that can record and send your location, call history, images from your camera, images from your phone, contacts list, browser history, etc. We worry about the NSA and meta-data, but the real danger is from the enemy within–those whom you may trust the most. Damaging the existing iPhone and replacing it with the jail broken and spyware-laden equivalent is not that uncommon–fragile screen and such.  Ex-post-facto, the simple Blackberry upgrade exchange has allowed the IT department-gone-spook to spy on employees. Today’s spyware is advanced and seamlessly integrated into the functions of Android, Blackberry and iOS. It is not in our practice to mail free iPads to suspects we are hunting down, or is it?  Maybe it should be…



Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Category: Private Investigator Stories | Uploaded by: ICSWorld

After years of lobbying from the Alabama Private Investigator’s Association, the Alabama lawmakers have finally passed Senate Bill 172.  Sponsored by Senator Bill Holtzclaw and Representative Howard Sanderford, the Bill requires that anyone acting as a private investigator must first be licensed, and must also complete continuing education requirements.

The APIA lobbied for this Bill as a solution to a public safety issue, and its purpose is to rid the industry of the few bad apples who give the profession a bad name, by taking advantage of clients and using unscrupulous or even illegal methods.



Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Category: Private Investigator Stories | Uploaded by: ICSWorld

Private Investigator Cold Case Investigation

Image courtesy of: WSBTV

After the Rockdale County Sheriff’s office swore in a new cold case investigator, they announced that they will be re-opening 11 cold case investigations, including the disappearance of a Rockdale County Mother, Deborah Jean McKneely. Deborah was reported missing after her two young children came home from school to evidence of forced entry and blood found in the house and garage.

Investigators want to determine if they can do anything new with the DNA that was recovered that couldn’t have been done back in 1991 because of forensic capabilities of the time.

“It’s been 22 years. I need to know where my sister is at. My family needs to know,” said Stan Quarles, McKneely’s brother.

The investigator who originally worked on the case in 1991 worked straight for 3 months without turning up any evidence towards the case. Unfortunately, the body was never found, making the investigation even more difficult to complete.

For any information that could help police with the Cold Case Murder contact the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department. For more information on how a private investigator can help on a cold case investigation check out

Posted: May 29th, 2013 | Category: Private Investigator Stories | Uploaded by: eric schnell

Social Media in Investigations

Image Copyright of Facebook

Social Media can play a substantial role in an investigation, but if the information isn’t properly documented or procedures are not put in place for social media investigations, then the information collected could be useless if it was ever needed to be admissible in the court of law.

Richard Gadreau, a social media officer with the Niagara Regional Police, spoke at the 2013 Ontario Insurance Adjusters Association’s Provincial Conference to voice his opinions on the issues pertaining to how many companies operate their social media investigations. According to Gadreau, most companies do not have a policy in place because top management doesn’t support its usage, or there is a lack of skill or know-how to effectively use it. Without properly implementing policies and procedures, evidence could be considered not credible and be worth nothing if presented in court.

Gadreau continued, “Information Solves Crimes… The information is out there for us to put together and sometimes the important part is not what you see as a total, but the ability to connect the dots”

Source: Social Media in Investigations

Posted: May 28th, 2013 | Category: Private Investigator Stories | Uploaded by: eric schnell

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