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Diana S. Dolliver

Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Alabama
Academic Director, Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force
Chapter Member: Alabama SSN

About Diana

Dolliver is a professor and cyber criminologist in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama. She also serves as the Academic Director for the region’s Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force (JECTF). Dolliver’s areas of expertise include Tor-based criminality, law enforcement (use of force, community policing, active shooter preparedness, and use of technology), and digital forensics. Her current research projects involve studying cybersecurity risks, drug trafficking, and weapons markets on the Tor Network. More broadly, Dolliver also examines socio-cultural aspects of cybercrime, transnational organized crime and drug trafficking, and the existing links between these criminal phenomena. Having prior work experience with the Drug Enforcement Administration, she enjoys working closely with members of law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad, in addition to collaborating with scholars from around the world on issues of comparative crime. She has taught undergraduate courses on Digital Forensics; Law Enforcement; Drugs, Crime, and Policy; and graduate courses on Cyber Security and Warfare.


How Cybercrimes Challenge Law Enforcement

In the News

Quoted by Chris Francescani in "Ransomware Hackers Blackmail U.S. Police Departments," NBC News , April 26, 2016.
Opinion: "How a Virtual ‘Mob Boss’ from Texas became the New Face of Organized Crime," Diana S. Dolliver, The Conversation, July 13, 2015.
Quoted by Hiawatha Bray in "When Hackers Cripple Data, Police Departments Pay Ransom," Boston Globe, April 6, 2015.
Quoted by in "UA to Launch Interdisciplinary Cyber Crime Minor," UA News, March 12, 2015.
Opinion: "After a Data Breach, It’s Consumers Left Holding the Bag," Diana S. Dolliver, The Conversation, November 29, 2014.
Quoted by Donna Thornton in "Cyber Attacks for Ransom Becoming More Common," The Gadsden Times, June 23, 2014.
Interviewed in "UA Professors Host Cybercrime Workshop at International Conference," The University of Alabama News, May 14, 2014.
Interviewed in Major Steroid Supplier in Tuscaloosa Arrested WVTM-TV (NBC affiliate), March 5, 2014.
Research discussed by Lev Grossman and Jay Newton-Small, in "The Secret Web: Where Drugs, Porn, and Murder Live Online," Time Magazine, November 11, 2013.


"Emerging Technologies, Law Enforcement Responses, and National Security" I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society (forthcoming).

Discusses the need for national security policies to consider the role and cyber readiness of local law enforcement agencies in the United States. First, examines cyber threats present on emerging technologies, such as the Tor Network, before detailing the law enforcement model in the US and challenges related to fragmentation that complicate the ability of local police departments to adequately respond to these threats. Concludes with proposals for strengthening the cyber capabilities and situational awareness of local PDs nationwide, and the need to consider their roles in future national cybersecurity strategies.

"A Geographic Analysis of Drug Trafficking Patterns on the Tor Network" (with Steven P. Ericson and Katherine L. Love). Geographical Review 108, no. 1 (2018): 45-68.

Employed geovisualization and exploratory spatial data analysis to examine drug distributions of heroin, cocaine, new psychoactive substances, and prescription drugs advertised on Agora, the largest international marketplace on the Tor Network at the time of data collection.

"Hybrid Approaches to Digital Forensic Investigations: A Comparative Analysis in an Institutional Context" Digital Investigation: The International Journal of Digital Forensics & Incident Response 23, no. 4 (2017): 124-137.

Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to keep pace with processing and analyzing digital evidence seized in active criminal cases. One unique response to these challenges is the formation of a hybrid digital forensic task force: a formal partnership between higher educational institutions and municipal and/or state law enforcement agencies to further education, research, and investigatory capacity in the digital forensic field. To better understand this organizational model, this study conducted a comparative analysis between eight such task forces in the United States using the theoretical guidance of neo-institutional theory, the first such national assessment.

"The Presence of New Psychoactive Substances in a Tor Network Marketplace Environment" (with Joseph B. Kuhns). Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 48, no. 5 (2016): 321-329.

Documented the types of new psychoactive substances (NPS) for sale on the Agora marketplace over time, as well as the countries and vendors sourcing NPS on this platform. Data were collected in 2015, and found that the number of NPS advertisements and vendors increased over a four-month period. Ketamine and new, unclassified NPS experienced substantial growth, while the availability of phenethylamines decreased; however, phenethylamines remained the most frequently advertised NPS on Agora.


"Evaluating Drug Trafficking on the Tor Network: Silk Road 2, The Sequel" The International Journal of Drug Policy (2015).
Discusses Silk Road, an illicit online drug retail market generating million dollar sales that enjoyed a growing and loyal consumer base. Examines the FBI-forced shut down of the site and its subsequent new found fame that contributed to an increase in new users downloading and accessing the Tor Network and later, the emergence of Silk Road 2. Compares the metrics of Silk Road 2 to the original site. Determines if there were any indications of the presence of more sophisticated drug trafficking operations. .
"Legal, Forensic, and Criminological Aspects of Cyberterrorism" (with Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar), in Current Problems of the Penal Law and Criminology, edited by Emil Plywaczewski (Wolters Kluwer, 2014).
Examines the legal challenges related to cyberterrorism, as well as the forensic and criminological aspects of this phenomenon.
"Environmental and Institutional Adaptation and Change: Testing Institutional Anomie Theory Using Time Series Modeling of Homicide Data" The British Journal of Criminology (2014).
Examines whether geographic differences in intentional homicide rates in Europe were a function of societies that exhibit Anomic cultural tendencies and an institutional imbalance, as guided by Institutional Anomie Theory. This research is temporally sensitive, taking into account these differences over a 15-year time period. Additionally, separate operations of the theory within developed and transitioning countries were tested, and various cultural–institutional configurations were uncovered that led to increases or decreases in homicide rates. While still restricted by a lack of guidance from Messner and Rosenfeld and inconsistency in past research on how to operationalize key concepts of Institutional Anomie Theory, this study significantly contributes to the literature by assessing core theoretical questions of the theory while employing appropriate measurement strategies.
"Drug Use: Treatment or Punishment? A Comparison between Poland and the United States" (with Matthew Dolliver), in The Current Problems of Penal Law in Criminology, 5th Edition, edited by Emil Pływaczewski (Wolters Kluwer Publishing House, 2012), 715-731.
Compares and contrasts how drug users are viewed socially and treated by their governments in the U.S. and in Poland.
"Contemporary Differences in Rates and Trends of Homicide among European Nations" (with Ineke H. Marshall), in Handbook of European Homicide Research, edited by Marieke Liem and William Pridemore (Sage Publications, 2012).
Defines and discusses recent trends of homicide rates in Europe, also discussing the differences in measurement, reporting, and definitions of “homicide” existing between European countries.
"The Polish Context: Examining Issues of Police Reform, Drug Use and Drug Trafficking in a Transitioning Democracy" (with Emil Pływaczewski). Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 35 (2012): 231-252.

Examines how two police reforms in Poland impacted arrests for drug use and drug trafficking in Poland.

"Currently Available Less-than-Lethal Alternatives and Emerging Technologies for the Future" (with Joseph B. Kuhns), in Police Use of Force: A Global Perspective, edited by Joseph B. Kuhns and J. Knutsson (Praeger Security International, 2010), 188-198.
Discusses the less-than-lethal weapons alternatives for law enforcement in the U.S. that are both currently available and emerging technologies designed to keep police and the public safe.