The Digital Human, Series 8 Episode 1 of 6

In the first of the new series, Aleks Krotoski explores how the web has influenced detection, from uncovering Osama Bin Laden to discovering the identity of long-abandoned Jane and John Does.

As human beings, what is it in our nature that drives us to find out the end of the story - even when that story has nothing to do with us?
The online world has made the detective mystery one in which we can all play a role. Hundreds of cold cases have been re-examined and re-explored by cyber sleuths around the world - and some cases have picked up definitive leads from eagle-eyed members of the public. But what are the implications for law enforcement, and how does detection work when so many of us are playing outside of the rules?

Producer: Victoria McArthur.

Release date:

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30 minutes

Last on

Mon 12 Oct 2015 16:30

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Deborah Halber

Deborah Halber
Deborah Halber is the author of The Skeleton Crew. She tell us how the internet has allowed amateur detectives to solve cases that went cold decades ago.

Todd Matthews

Todd Matthews

It all started with the "Tent Girl"

Todd Matthews is Director of Case Management and Communications at Namus (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System). When he was a teenager, he learned of an unidentified murder victim, known only as Tent Girl. He became obsessed with finding her true identity, and in the late 1990s turned to the internet to finally find her true name. Pictured with his wife, Lori.

Daniele Metilli

Daniele Metilli is a computer engineer from Pisa Italy. In 2014 he entered a contest to decipher incomprehensible shorthand written in a copy of Homer's Odyssey printed by Aldus Manutius in 1504. Using tools only available in the digital age, he solved a mystery that had baffled academics for 150 years in just under 12 hours.

Cynthia Storer

Cynthia Storer
Cynthia Storer served 20 years as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. She has since provided analysis training and education to US Government intelligence agencies, was a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, and was a Lecturer at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. She tells how technology has aided detection by analysing patterns and anomalies at incredibly fast speeds, but that it's always a struggle to stay one step ahead of people who would use the technology to malicious ends.

Rosemary Westbrook

Rosemary Westbrook is the sister of Barbara Ann Hackman, who vanished in 1967. 30 years later Rosemary posted on a online classified site, and received a call from Todd Matthews...