As communication increasingly shifts to digital platforms, information derived from online open sources is starting to become critical in creating an evidentiary basis for international crimes. While journalists have led the development of many newly emerging open source investigation methodologies, courts have heightened the requirements for verifying and preserving a chain of custody—information linking all of the individuals who possessed the content and indicating the duration of their custody—creating a need for standards that are just now beginning to be identified, articulated, and accepted by the international legal community. In this article, we discuss the impact of internet-based open source investigations on international criminal legal processes, as well as challenges related to their use. We also offer best practices for lawyers, activists, and other individuals seeking to admit open source information—including content derived from social media—into courts.
Nikita Mehandru & Alexa Koenig, Icts, Social Media, & the Future of Human Rights, 17 Duke Law & Technology Review 129-145 (2019)