According to a deep dive from the Washington Post, advances in surveillance technology played a big part in the FBI's efforts to identify and arrest participants on the Capitol riot on Jan 6th that led to massive destruction at the U.S. Capitol and lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
With the Insider reporting that over 390 people have been charged over the Capitol insurrection, the Post claims that was made possible by tips from the public, working in conjunction with FBI technological advances.
"Federal documents provide a rare view of the ways investigators exploit the digital fingerprints nearly everyone leaves behind in an era of pervasive surveillance and constant online connection. They illustrate the power law enforcement now has to hunt down suspects by studying the contours of faces, the movements of vehicles and even conversations with friends and spouses," the Post's Drew Harwell and Craig Timberg wrote. "The cache of federal documents lays out a sprawling mix of FBI techniques: license plate readers that captured suspects' cars on the way to Washington; cell-tower location records that chronicled their movements through the Capitol complex; facial recognition searches that matched images to suspects' driver's licenses or social media profiles; and a remarkably deep catalogue of video from surveillance systems, live streams, news reports and cameras worn by the police who swarmed the Capitol that day."
The report notes that the information gleaned allowed all 56 if of the FBI's field offices to join in the search, eventually issuing at least 900 search warrants in an investigation the Justice Department described as " .... one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence," in court documents.
Adding, "Many of the Trump supporters who marauded through the Capitol that day showed little interest in concealing their presence, posting selfies, gloating on Twitter and sharing video of chaotic violence and ransacked hallways," the report notes, "The FBI said it tracked down suspected rioters who had tried unsuccessfully to evade prosecution. In an affidavit supporting a search warrant application, an FBI agent said that a relative of Zachary Alam had told investigators he could be seen in video bashing some glass inside the Capitol with his helmet and that he was on the run with no intention of turning himself in. Agents got a D.C. judge to issue a 'ping order' for his cellphone, which had been registered with T-Mobile under the name of Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent, the affidavit said. That ping order allegedly pinpointed Alam's location to Room 17 of the Penn Amish Motel in rural Pennsylvania. FBI agents arrested him there the next day."
Adding to all of that, the Post notes that the FBI was aided by so-called "sedition hunters," with the authors writing the tipsters, "scoured the Web for clues to track down rioters and often tweeted their findings publicly in what amounted to a crowdsourced investigation of the Capitol attack."
You can read more here.