Legal And Ethical Aspects Of Digital Evidence Essay
Demonstrate the importance of ethics and integrity in the context of acquiring and analysing digital evidence, in
contrast to traditional evidence. In formulating your research essay, you must consider and examine the ethical and
legal challenges and make reference to real-world examples and case studies.
Your essay must be well referenced and demonstrate research, analysis, creativity and a well thought out argument. Your list of references should include a minimum of five quality academic references (i.e. conference paper, journals, books) that have been analysed and investigated appropriately. Hint: You are required to prove that a concept and view point is true. Do not simply repeat existing literature. The task requires you to examine literature in-depth and develop a well thought out argument.
The research on digital evidence essay signifies that digital evidence is a collectively new area that has been developed by computer forensics and it helps in collecting, analyzing and preserving digital evidence. The traditional physical records are different from digital evidence because digital evidence has wider scope, it deals with sensitive information and it taps various interconnected ways (Garfinkel, 2010). However, the importance of legal and ethical concern in digital evidence is more than compared to traditional evidence because of its wider scope. The digital evidence essayanalyses the importance of legal and ethical aspects of digital evidences in comparison to traditional evidences.
Digital evidences are collected and preserved in different sources that can be used at the time of investigations such as websites, file sharing networks and others. The files are stored in the file sharing networks as a major source of digital evidence that can be used for investigation. The networks help in transferring files as evidence among various users unlike traditional paper evidence. However, the digital evidence shared in networks is highly exposed of getting hacked and misplaced. As stated in the digital evidence essay, it is important to hide the identity and location of the individuals that are sharing and accessing the digital evidence (Losavio, Pastukov&Polyakova, 2015). This is ethically correct so that the individuals are not harmed by any means and enable a safer internet access.
With regards to the case scenario of digital evidence essay, Roux &Falgoust (2012) has stated that the process of forensic evidence is highly complex in nature and it is important to take care so that the evidence is not altered in any investigation because it will then hamper the entire investigation process. This makes it important to conduct digital forensic under ethical framework. This is because digital evidence has wider scope and if users do not protect the digital evidence from privacy concerns then there are high chances that the investigation will be hampered. Unlike traditional paper evidence it is seen that digital evidence uses information system and thus get exposed to ethical issues like manipulation, privacy breach and accuracy problems because of its wider platform and backdoor entry techniques (Losavio, Pastukov&Polyakova, 2015). This is not same in traditional evidences because they are narrower in scope and collected only in physical means that can be locked easily.
For example, Christiana, a student of the University of Florida disappeared after being seen by her friends for the last time. In this case of digital evidence essay the digital evidences used are cell phone of her friends, the Facebook profile of friends, last search made by her friends in cell their phones and others. Thus, in such case it becomes important for investigator to carefully collect such data from wider digital platform without any manipulation. The investigator should present accurate findings and take help from information technology expert to avoid privacy issues.
Digital forensic is also seen to face more legal challenges while acquiring and analyzing digital evidence compared to traditional evidences. This is because there are many times when digital evidences or electronic devices are challenged by the court for its integrity and legality. There are various legal concerns in relation to digital evidence such as absence of guidelines and standards, privacy act, admissibility in courts and preservation of electronic evidence (Ferguson et al., 2020). These were not the case in terms of physical traditional evidence because preserving such evidence is easy and there are designed guidelines to collect it. Unlike traditional evidence, the digital evidence faces admissible problem in the court because the court does not consider electronic devices as an authentic source. As per the investigation on digital evidence essay the digital evidences are not legally admissible in the court. This makes it important for the investigator to consider this legal problem and collect evidences that can prove a fact and does not violate any legal statutes. This will help make the evidences legally acceptable in the court as a proof of evidences. This means that while acquiring and accessing the digital evidence one should make sure that the evidences are examined for traces for tampering and deletion (Losavio et al., 2018). For example, the police should hire an IT expert to obtain the information from the server of third party such as mobile phone to ensure that the evidence is not deleted or altered. Further, as discussed in the digital evidence essay, there is concern of illegally obtained evidence that is evidence that violates the constitution such as IP addresses of the people being questioned are not accepted. Further, while acquiring and accessing digital content it is important to assess the authenticity of the evidence (Losavio et al., 2018). For example, it is important that the fingerprint of the evidence, while it was collected from the suspected person such as mobile phone matches with the fingerprint when the phone is being presented to court. Such concerns are not used in the traditional paper evidence where there is no chance of authenticity being hamper or evidence being illegally obtained.
For example, if we take the similar case of Christiana that disappeared and was last seen by her friends then there are various legal concerns that the police needs to consider in the examination. When collecting digital evidence such as cell phone of the friends the fingerprint should be collected at the time of collecting the evidence and should be matched when submitting the same in court. This means that the phone should not be touched by any other person directly except the person the phone belongs to. Further, an IT expert should be hired to look into Siri search or Facebook access to collect data carefully. Thirdly, the examiner should ensure that the IP address of none of the friends should be collected during the investigation.
In the conclusion section of digital evidence essay, it can be stated that digital evidence has to consider the ethical and legal aspects so that the evidences are carefully handled and accepted in the court as authentic. The collected and presentation of traditional evidences were very simple, while digital evidences has wider scope and complex. Unlike traditional physical evidence, the digital evidence involves careful reliable documentation by known digital experts.
Ferguson, R. I., Renaud, K., Wilford, S., & Irons, A. (2020). PRECEPT: a framework for ethical digital forensics investigations. Digital evidence essayJournal of Intellectual Capital.
Garfinkel, S. L. (2010). Digital forensics research: The next 10 years. digital investigation, 7, S64-S73.
Losavio, M. M., Chow, K. P., Koltay, A., & James, J. (2018). The Internet of Things and the Smart City: Legal challenges with digital forensics, privacy, and security. Security and Privacy, 1(3), e23.
Losavio, M., Pastukov, P., &Polyakova, S. (2015). Cyber black box/event data recorder: legal and ethical perspectives and challenges with digital forensics. Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 10(4), 4.
Roux, B., &Falgoust, M. (2012). Ethical issues raised by data acquisition methods in digital forensics research. Digital evidence essayJournal of information ethics, 21(1), 40.