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Police to develop mobile text forensics solution

Antony Savvas

The individual styles of people's text messages are to be analysed to help the police in criminal investigations.

Researchers from the University of Leicester are to examine SMS messages from hundreds of volunteers as part of efforts to develop tools that can help identify text message authors.

Text message analysis was used to catch the killer of Essex schoolgirl Danielle Jones who disappeared in June 2001.

Her uncle Stuart Campbell was found guilty of her murder after analysis of two text messages sent from her phone were found to have been written by Campbell.

Police had analysed the style of her text messages before she disappeared, to help build their case against Campbell.

Police had used a forensic linguist to highlight differences in the spelling of words on her phone before and after Danielle's disappearance.

The six-month Leicester University study will study the linguistics used by the volunteer texters.

Such techniques are already used by police to study letters and e-mails that appear in criminal investigations.

 

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