Welcome to ERA – Academy of European Law

Investigating Web 2.0





INVESTIGATING WEB 2.0 (2018-2019)

  • Practice-oriented training on internet searches for EU legal practitioners

About the project

There is today a dire need for an adequate level of computer literacy among EU judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers. The massive use of internet, social networks and digital media have favoured criminal practices. Traditional types of fraud and crimes have been modified to use new tech channels.

Therefore, today, in almost all legal proceedings, information gathered from the internet play a significant role and are due to become even more important in legal practitioners’ operational work. For them the web has become a vital tool as browsers, search engines and social media monitoring tools can assist in the retrieval of the needed information.

In addition to the need for knowledge and skills for searching the internet for information, this evolution also brings many legal challenges when it comes to acquiring, analysing and presenting to court the result of such searches.

This Project aims at promoting technical and legal knowledge, exchange of experiences and best practices between judges, prosecutors and lawyers in private practice from EU Member States who are involved in (or already dealt with) criminal proceedings where internet searches are involved.


  • To provide, first and foremost, participants with the basic understanding of the internet architecture and concepts (Internet Protocol, anonymity online, encryption, internet cache, etc.);
  • To familiarise participants (who often have no technical background) with the challenges and difficulties linked to the online investigations;
  • To offer an insight into different national EU criminal legal systems which already experienced internet searches such as social media investigations;
  • To exchange best practices and information in a very practice-oriented way (at the moment there is not an EU legal framework on internet searches, therefore practical experiences done by colleagues are key to understand the phenomenon);
  • To facilitate networking opportunities and encourage close contacts and cooperation among EU legal practitioners;
  • To improve cooperation with the private sector and the internet industry (representatives of the internet industry will be invited on a regular basis);
  • To train an overall number of 240 EU legal practitioners (max 40 per event to guarantee practice-oriented training) in the framework of six seminars to be organised in different EU Cities


Six practice oriented training events, duration: 1,5 day, each, divided into three parts structured as follows:

  • World Wide Web (WWW) vs. the Internet
  • Understanding Internet protocols (http, https, ftp)
  • What is a URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
  • Internet cache – deleting and retrieving
  • Surface search vs deep web search
  • Meta search engines
  • Proxy servers
  • Encryption
  • Reverse image search
  • How to review a webpage or site that is offline
  • The evaluation of the search results (authenticity, reliability and credibility)
  • Documenting the searches and its results in court
  • Legal rules on authentication and practical problems
  • Ensuring the data has not been altered
  • Search across jurisdictions
  • Transborder access to data (Article 32 of the Budapest Convention)
  • Presentation of evidence in court
  • Presenting internet searches in court (best practices):
    • prosecution perspective
    • defence perspective
  • Internet searches results in court: a new evidentiary frontier for the judge - challenges posed by websites, social networks, emails, clouds, text messaging and other computer-generated or stored documents open source and covert
    • Judicial perspective

Type and number of persons benefiting from the Project

  • 15 judges x 6 seminars = 90 judges
  • 15 prosecutors x 6 seminars = 90 prosecutors
  • 10 lawyers x 6 seminars = 60 lawyers

Expected results

  • To raise awareness on the implications/impact that the internet searches have in criminal proceedings and on the new forms of investigative techniques;
  • To learn the basics of digital investigations enabling participants to gain an overview of the complex challenges related to admissibility of internet searches’ results in court;
  • To gain an insight into the work carried out by their counterparts in other Member States developing mutual trust among Member States while expanding good practices;
  • To increase the knowledge (through concrete “live demonstrations” during the training rather than theoretical lessons) on new ways evidence in presented in court (hard disks, computers, mobile devices, videos, etc.);
  • To improve cooperation with the private sector and the internet industry;
  • To always be updated on new criminal modus operandi trends;
  • To overall improve the knowledge on the subject and raise awareness on these relatively new subjects.