A forensic examination of the technical and legal challenges surrounding the investigation of child abuse on live streaming platforms: A case study on Periscope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Video streaming provision are now widely used and whilst commercialised platforms face challenges with accessing and protecting copyrighted media, the emerging popularity of personalised live streaming services has resulted in a number of additional recorded abuses. In 2017, reports of personal live streaming platforms being used in acts of harassment, offences against the person and vehicle incidents have surfaced in the media. Of significant concern is the apparent use of streaming connected with acts of child abuse, where following the enactment of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, acknowledgement for the use of streaming for child sexual exploitation has been made in England and Wales. Whilst a positive step towards closing an apparent gap in legislation caused by this technology, practical enforcement of the offence may be difficult. This article investigates the challenges posed by the live streaming platform ‘Periscope’ offering an examination methodology for this application to support those investigating cases of abuse via Periscope. The results of a digital forensic analysis of Periscope's usage both in a web browser, Android and Apple mobile device platform presented. Periscope's footprint on Android and iOS is documented with key artefacts denoting a user's behaviour via the application are examined in order to support practitioners configure existing mobile forensic tools to extract and interpret resident Periscope application data, with analysis limitations noted. Findings are provided and discussed inline with their impact upon regulatory practices and live streaming investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Information Security and Applications
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2018


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