Dr. Rob D’Ovidio


Current Research Projects

Dr. D’Ovidio and Professor Irv Schlanger on-site during the data collection phase of the Crime in Public Access Internet Facilities project

Public libraries offer patrons a means by which to access the Internet without the user authentication standards typically required by commercial Internet service providers.  Patrons who access the Internet using a public library are, thus, afforded a degree of anonymity that is generally not given to those people who access the Internet at home or work.  The anonymity given to those who access the Internet through a public library makes it an attractive location from which to commit computer-related crimes.  This research aims to examine the extent to which public libraries are suitable targets from which criminals can commit computer-related crimes and victimize patrons who use library computers or access the Internet through the library’s wireless network.  The extent to which public libraries serve as capable guardians against the victimization of their patrons who use the computer infrastructure is also examined.  Data were gathered using all public libraries in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties (i.e. Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester) (N=154).  

This project is funded through grants by the National Institute of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education.

Hiding Crimes in Cyberspace: Crime & Victimization in Public Access Internet Facilities

Crime in Virtual Communities & Online Gaming Worlds

Data Breach Notification Statutes: Examining Differences Among States

Media Interviews (click for full list and to set up an interview)

Suggested Links

Contact Information

  1. Email: rd64@drexel.edu

  2. Office Phone: (215) 895-1803


The continued deployment of new computer technologies and services requires law enforcement first-responders and computer crime investigators to constantly update their skills.  The widespread migration of Internet users into virtual communities, such as Second Life or IMVU, and popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, such as World of War Craft and EverQuest, have created new opportunities for criminals and a subsequent need to familiarize law enforcement professionals with these technologies so that they may investigate and prevent related crimes.  This research and training program aims to further the capacity of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prevent crime involving virtual communities and gaming worlds. The program will:

    1. Identify threats and security vulnerabilities faced by users of virtual and gaming worlds and common exploits used by criminals in these online environments.

    2. Create and deploy an in-person training seminar and electronic training resources to:

        1. Familiarize law enforcement professionals with popular virtual and gaming worlds and related crimes.

        2. Assist law enforcement professionals in the use of these online environments for investigative purposes and crime prevention initiatives.

        3. Train law enforcement professionals on the procedures for seizing gaming consoles and related hardware.

  1. I am collaborating on this project with researchers from Drakontas, LLC.  The project is funded through a grant by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

I am particularly interested in researching consumer protection strategies to help prevent and mitigate damages from identity theft.  An unwillingness of organizations to voluntarily report data breaches has left unknowing consumers vulnerable to identity-related fraud.  As such, state governments have enacted data breach notification statutes that require organizations holding personal identifiers to notify people whose identifying data were compromised as a result of a computer or network intrusion.  This research involves a legal analysis of data breach notification statutes to examine the role of the state as a capable guardian against identity theft.  The goal will be to produce model breach notification legislation for states to adopt or use as a guide to amend existing notification laws.