Funders: ESRC Collaborators: West Midlands Police, Lexegesys (a small text analytics SME), University of Warwick (Security Ethics Group); Research Questions/work packages:
This project will focus on issues of identity and identity assumption in the context of sexual online interactions between adults and children and the policing response to such interactions. In this domain there is significant identity play and identity disguise. The way we use words and the stories (true or false) we tell about ourselves are what determine our identities in cyberspace. The project takes a non-mechanistic view of identity and identity management. The first three research questions have been piloted in a previously funded short project. The Centre for Forensic Linguistics already trains police internet investigators in the assumption of identities online (AIO) and one substantial aim of this project is to address the theory and evidence deficit to enable better understanding and better training. Work package (iii) will use the linguistic work to provide a computational system for the analysis of online interactions to assist investigators and the the objective of the ethics and policy package is to situate the identity assumption task in the wider context of policing, policy and ethics with particular reference to Special Investigation Techniques.