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Digital evidence in forensic investigations

Digital evidenceDigital evidence are that information with probative value for the prosecution and courts, that are stored, processed or transmitted through a computer system. They are defined as:

any information of probative value that is either stored, processed or transmitted in a digital format.

Digital samples include computer evidence, digital audio samples, digital video, produced or transmitted by mobile phones, digital fax, etc.

One of the particularities of this kind of evidence is that they apparently are not obvious, as contained in computer equipment that stores them. It requires investigation equipment and specific software to make these evidence available, tangible and usable.

Another aspect is the fact that these samples are very “fragile” in the sense that they can be changed or disappear very easily, in ways that are often out of reach of the perpetrators. Therefore investigators should take special protective measures to collect, preserve and examine the evidence. Keeping these types of samples has become a growing concern of investigators around the world.

The need to standardize practice in this area has led to the development of standards on digital evidence. There are standards relating to digital evidence compiled by the International Organization on Computer Evidence (IOCE) and the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE).

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