Establishing authorship of IMs and text messages

Texts to reveal “whodunnit”

Psychologists at the University of Leicester are to investigate texting language to provide new tools for criminal investigation.

The forensic linguistic study based in the Forensic Section of the School of Psychology will examine how well an individual can be identified by their texting style.

This study has obvious implications for identifying the author of instant messages. Forensic text analysis can already be used on email messages, but IMs, like text messages sent via cell phones, present more of a challenge.

These tools aren’t readily available to the average person who is being harassed, but as they are developed and used by law enforcement officials, they’ll become more and more accessible and filter down finally to local law enforcement levels. Civilians learn to do forensic text analysis in certificate courses now. In five years, they may be able to do the same with text messages and IMs. Every bit helps.