New Approaches to Digital Investigation in Berlin

    Tactical Technology Collective and the Centre for Investigative Journalism are offering an innovative course designed to familiarise investigators with the tools and techniques they will need to navigate the new digital terrain.

    5 June 2015 - 7 June 2015

    Standard fee: €550

    Fee for participants from large organisations: €1100

    Reduced fee for up to five participants who can demonstrate a need for support (500 words max): €220

    Course Outline

    The field of investigative research is changing rapidly. The extraordinary accumulation of data in the public domain has empowered journalists, researchers and others by giving them new ways to expose and shape compelling stories. As more investigators learn to apply these techniques, they themselves face a growing array of digital, legal and physical threats that stem, in part, from the power of modern surveillance technology to analyse their digital traces and obstruct their efforts.

    We invite journalists, campaigners, activists, lawyers, bloggers and researchers to join us in Berlin, where they will learn to leverage these new investigative methods. Participants will gather digital evidence online and utilise computer assisted reporting (CAR) techniques to clean, analyse and visualise data while minimising risk to themselves and those with whom they collaborate.

    No previous experience with digital security or data analysis is required. Please bring your own laptop. The course will be taught in English.

    New Approaches to Digital Investigation will include three hands-on training blocks and two collaborative workshop sessions.

    It will cover:

    • Investigation using open source information – find information buried in international databases, on social media, within images or elsewhere online
    • Data analysis – mine data for stories using spreadsheets (Excel)
    • Digital security – use practical encryption tools to protect your information, your partners and yourself

    Day One: Open-Source Investigation 

    • Cross-border research
    • Practical information management
    • Storing and encrypting data with TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt
    • Anonymous online research using the Tor Browser

    Day Two: Introduction to Data Analysis

    • Revealing the story: interview data using spreadsheets (Excel)
    • Mapping for impact reporting
    • Negotiating for data – legal issues, file search and fact checking
    • Searching for data online

    Day Three: Data Analysis (continued)

    • Scraping web content with tools like Helium, Kimono and OutWit
    • Secure communication
    • Using public key encryption tools to collaborate safely with others (eg email, chat, calls, file sharing)
    • Metadata and visual investigation

    Apply online on the Tactical Tech website: Digital Investigation

    More information will be sent to applicants by email.


    This is a new curriculum designed by two non-profit organisations. We have made every effort to keep costs as affordable as possible to ensure a diverse range of participants. This course will be attended by a small group of up to 17 participants and facilitated by three experienced trainers. Individuals who are working on investigative projects but lack the funds to attend are invited to apply for a scholarship. Two scholarships are available. To do so, describe (500 words max) what you are doing and why you are seeking free registration in the online application form.

    Standard fee: €550

    Fee for participants from large organisations: €1100

    Reduced fee for up to five participants who can demonstrate a need for support (500 words max): €220

    The above fee includes lunch and refreshments throughout the three day course.

    The Centre for Investigative Journalism
    The Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) is a charity that champions critical, in-depth reporting and the defence of the public interest. It came into being in 2003 to address a deepening crisis in investigative reporting. The primary mission of the CIJ is to provide a centre of excellence for the training of journalists; to raise the standard of investigative reporting to a high professional level. There will be further CIJ training in Berlin later in the year. For up-to-date info follow us on Twitter @cijournalism and subscribe to our newsletter.

    Tactical Technology Collective
    Tactical Tech is a non-profit organisation, working since 2003 to advance the use of information and digital technologies by advocates and activists worldwide. We have three focal areas: understanding & shaping issues; digital security and privacy; and data politics. Through trainings and workshops we provide direct support to over 2000 activists a year, either through intensive training in small groups, or through 'flash trainings' or clinics at large-scale gatherings and conferences.


    Crina Boroş is an investigative journalist reporting on HSBC leaks, UK and offshore money-laundering, Afghan victims’ compensation, women’s rights, EU lobbying, workers’ abuse, civil service transparency and accountability. She specialised in data journalism / CAR, cross-border, Freedom of Information and undercover reporting. She produced front-page headlines-generating features, statistical analysis and watchdog reporting. A CAR trainer and member of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).

    Gabi Sobliye has worked at Transparency International, contributing to data projects such as the Global Corruption Barometer, and for The Guardian in London. Gabi holds a Masters in Human Rights from University College London. Gabi has led workshops for Tactical Tech on data visualisation, data analysis, campaigning and privacy for activists in Jordan, Columbia, Tajikistan and throughout Europe.

    Chris Walker has advised on a number of projects at the intersection of technology and human rights, principally in countries where access to information is heavily constrained, closely monitored or both. Chris has trained activists, journalists and organisations on digital security and recently completed a semester training post-graduate students at Columbia School of Journalism.