As you begin to delve further and further into digital forensics, you will necessarily want to become more familiar with the laws and best practices that govern the field. As with any other kind of investigation, it is vitally important that you follow these laws and best practices if any of the evidence that you gather is to hold any weight in a court of law. For this reason, we thought it would be useful to go over these things. By reviewing the material that follows, and investigating these things further, you should be able to ensure that all digital forensics investigations that you conduct are strictly above board.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) provides an excellent resource for individuals and entities conducting digital forensics investigations called the “Good Practice Guide for Digital Evidence”. This guide was originally target to law enforcement officers conducting their investigatory work in the United Kingdom. However, the resource has proved to be so valuable that it’s been adopted across the globe.
Although you can read the detailed guide for yourself, there are essentially four main components, which we will review here:
As you can see, the guidelines set forth by the ACPO are fairly straightforward.
Of course, while it’s good to have a firm grasp on best practices, if you’re conducting digital forensic investigations in the United States, you will need to be familiar with the laws that govern such investigations. There are several that you should keep in mind as you conduct any kind of digital forensics investigation. These include:
Provided that you follow the best practices laid out by the ACPO and that you adhere to the laws of the United States, you should be able to conduct ironclad digital forensics investigations. Of course, whenever you’re in doubt about the legality of any action you might be taking, it’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney who’s knowledgeable about this area of the law.