←All Posts Posted on October 20, 2015 By admin
Even if you’re a complete technophobe and don’t own a computer or smartphone yourself, information is held about you on the computers of numerous enterprises and government organisations. Court cases and investigations are increasingly likely to involve computerised information even if technology has no direct bearing on the case itself. This all-pervasive nature of information technology means that there’s increasing demand for the skills of the computer investigator.
In Australia there are guidelines which should be followed by a computer expert witness appearing in court. However, it’s important that they also act in an ethical way throughout their career.
This goes right to the roots of becoming a computer investigator. It’s key that anyone setting themselves up in business as a computer expert doesn’t misrepresent their qualifications, or claim that they have skills they don’t possess.
The nature of the role means that computer forensic investigators are, on many occasions, going to have access to privileged information in the course of their work. This may be security details, trade secrets or even medical records relating to individuals. Not only is this material confidential, it may be key to the outcome of a hearing or tribunal. It’s therefore crucial that it’s handled with proper respect.
The problem is that digital forensics is a relatively new science. It involves areas of expertise that haven’t yet had time to develop the sufficient set of standards and guidelines used by forensic experts in older professions, like medicine and accountancy. Most training tends to focus on the technical aspects of the job rather than the professional ones.
It is, however, possible for the industry to learn from these older fields in terms of how practitioners should conduct themselves. Reputation is key here, it’s vital that the forensic investigator is respected in his or her field.
Anyone familiar with Shakespeare’s Othello will know that the importance of reputation goes back a very long way. In terms of forensic investigation it’s about how the practitioner handles themselves, not just in the course of their work, but in their private lives too.
A computer expert witness needs to be taken seriously. The client, and the court if necessary, have to have confidence in his/her skills. But they also need to be confident in their integrity and that’s where reputation is priceless.