The FBI’s latest weapon in locating electronic evidence is not a computer program, it’s a dog.  The FBI is using data-sniffing dogs in raids to cut down on the time it takes agents to locate small hidden data storage devices.

The FBI has used one such specially-trained dog, Bear, a number of raids to look for hidden electronic evidence.  Bear’s Kentucky trainers, Tactical Detection K9, worked with scientists to isolate scents that are associated with motherboards in small storage devices.  Bear trained for over a year to detect those scents.  He can sniff out micro SD devices, thumb drives, external hard drives and other minuscule external storage devices that potentially contain important electronic evidence. Now when federal agents conduct raids to locate tiny data storage devices, some as small as a finger nail, Bear can find the target evidence in minutes.

Just as a body of case law has developed concerning the use of drug-sniffing dogs, we can expect that case law will begin to develop about the use of data-sniffing dogs in the near future.