US law enforcement agencies have successfully trained a sniffer dog to find data storage devices.
The Connecticut State Police are the first force to use these dogs, having trained a Golden Labrador called Thoreau to sniff out a wide range of data storage devices.
Amongst the hardware that he can find are memory sticks, flash drives, SD cards and, hard drives. The force took 22 weeks to train Thoreau and he has already found the evidence needed to convict several paedophiles.
Many such criminals save indecent images on data sticks, which they then hide in walls and ceilings. In the past, police can see that downloads from sites that they know contain illegal photos have been made, but they have not always been able to find the actual images in the paedophile’s possession.
This makes successful prosecution far more difficult. However, Thoreau can help to find that evidence. He has been trained to sniff out the scent of the metal and other components that these products contain.
His skills are so good that he once found a flash drive hidden in a tin box. The amazing aspect was that the tin box was being stored in a metal filing cabinet, yet the Golden Lab was still able to pick out the smell of the components in the device.
Dog training takes time, but with these kinds of results, there are likely to be hundreds of other dogs trained to detect data storage devices. In time, they are likely to be used across the world to find evidence criminals are currently able to hide from the police.