Systematic Mapping Study of Online Cyber-Surveillance Technologies

As part of an effort to bring systematic methodology to security research, prompted by my supervisor Awais Rashid, I attempted a systematic mapping study (a form of systematic literature review which lacks a properly meta-analytical component) which focused on papers studying data-mining technologies specifically targeted at law enforcement or intelligence use of online resources such as the web, email and similar data.

This area was chosen partially as a scoping exercise for my thesis, to enable us to find gaps it would be profitable to pursue. It later turned out to be a well-timed investigation, as the Snowden revelations would break some time into the drafting of the paper, lending it a topical flavour (that is diminished somewhat by the fact that redrafting and peer review pushed publication into 2015).

The methodology used was an automated search across several publication databases, combining related terms and then manually filtering through these results. This last part was particularly difficult, as the methods by the publication databases to select results do not seem to be particularly precise, meaning I had to read a lot of irrelevant titles and abstracts. Around then I produced a reasonably ugly poster describing the systematic mapping study methodology.

Even following the manual filtering, the papers covered were quite numerous The papers were then labelled topically for both their technological domain and their application area, and these formed the sections and subsections of analysis in the final publication. {paper}{bibtex}