In a press release issued last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced the opening of a "new, state-of-the-art Computer Forensics Lab in Boston" as part of the Attorney General's Cyber Crime Initiative. Under the Initiative, the Attorney General's office received funding from the U.S. Department of Justive to "develop a sustainable cyber crime information sharing program in Massachusetts" for the Massachusetts law inforcement community.
According to the press release, the lab "will expand the office's forensic capabilities, allowing it to conduct exams on a variety of digital media such as computers, cell phones, laptops, PDAs and GPS devices." The lab is 3,000 square feet and is the largest of its size for any attorney general's office in New England. It will have the latest technology available to forensic investigators to allow them to extract information such as text messages, videos and pictures from mobile devices, and will also have imaging machines that can be used to capture information that cannot be extracted from a device or hard drive. In addition, lab space will be used to train police officers on how to "bag and tag," using the proper techniques for evidence seizure at a crime scene.
According to the press release, the Attorney General's Office has trained more than 1,000 Massachusetts law enforcement officers and cyber crime experts from across the nation, focusing primarily on investigation of identity theft. While it certainly seems that Attorney General Coakley has made prevention of cyber-crime one of her top priorities (indeed, the office recently received and award from the National White Collar Crime Center for its work in cyber crime), it will be interesting to see what happens if she is successful in her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.