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Internet of Things

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $445,932)

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand at an exponential rate. We have moved beyond the initial ‘first adopters’ of this new technology to a place where the average U.S. household has approximately 11 connected devices. In 2020, IoT connections surpassed non-IoT connections for the first time. This means we now have more IoT devices connected to the internet than computers and smartphones. By 2025, it is expected that there will be four IoT devices connected for every person on the planet. This rapid adoption of technology stands in contrast to the preparedness of law enforcement, public safety officers and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute crimes committed using or in proximity of these silent witnesses. IoT devices present new challenges to digital forensic science as few digital forensic tools are available to investigate these devices. The problem is compounded by limited training opportunities available to prosecutors and the judicial branch, investigators, or digital forensic examiners. 

The organizations represented in this proposal bring many years of experience supporting federal, state and local agencies with in-person and online training, instructional aids, and technical assistance on complex problems and new technologies. Both organizations have existing research, training and instructional materials related to Internet of Things technologies in the investigative context. 

We propose a multi-pronged approach to address this problem in a rapid manner. Combining resources from Oklahoma State University’s Center for Fire & Explosives, Forensic Investigations, Training & Research (OSU CENFEX) program and VTO Labs, a collaborative portal will be created to consolidate IoT resources relevant to law enforcement, public safety officers and prosecutors. This will be a place to distribute instructional aids, announce upcoming training opportunities and deliver the plethora of materials that has emerged on Internet of Things forensics in a curated portal tailored to the specific user community. Second, training dates will be announced within 30 days of project award including in-person training, online training, and webinars targeted to specific technology topics and audiences. Both organizations have a robust training network, instructors on staff capable of delivering the material, and years of experience investigating Internet of Things and next generation embedded technologies. Lastly, both organizations have significant experience providing technical assistance to complex investigations. Both organizations have supported Federal, state, local and international investigations with forensic science expertise on new and novel technologies. Through the portal, we will prepare an engagement process for agencies needing technical assistance with investigations.

Date Created: December 6, 2021