Sherlock approved: ALIAS Technology provides Digital Fingerprinting of Email, SMS, and more

Think about the last thing you wrote: an email, text, tweet, Facebook post, Youtube comment… Chances are, it was typed on a computer or mobile device, not written out by hand. While typing is faster and more convenient for most of our daily needs, it raises serious issues for forensic investigators trying to determine the authorship of a typed suicide note or threatening SMS.

Electronic communication, renders useless past techniques of analyzing handwriting, paper, or ink to physically link a text to its writer. Producing court-admissible evidence of who wrote an email, SMS, or document becomes extremely challenging.

ALIAS Technology detects authorship using a combined syntactic and statistical methodology developed by linguist Dr. Carole Chaski. Unlike other forensic linguistics methodologies that rely on word frequency, spelling errors, and other obvious and easy-to-imitate features, Chaski’s method is based on syntax—how we combine words into phrases and sentences. Syntactic analysis is hard to fool and also a technique that is applicable to any language.

Once ALIAS perfected its tools for analyzing English text, the company began thinking about expanding into other languages. That’s where Basis Technology’s startup program came into play. ALIAS implemented Basis Technology’s multilingual parsers, which radically expanded their offering without the need to hire a linguistics expert for each new language.

Check out the case study to learn how ALIAS utilizes text analytics to solve crime, and let us know if you’re a startup looking to access state-of-the-art natural language processing and text analytics tools!

Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”, By Sidney Paget (1860 – 1908) (Strand Magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons