Opening Panel: Reliability and Efficacy in Digital Forensic Examinations

08 Sep 2020

Our expert line-up for this panel will address growing concerns surrounding the processes in which digital forensic examinations are conducted and utilised by law enforcement. 

Digital evidence and human error - how reliable is the digital forensic examiner?

- DS Nina Sunde

Digital evidence is often perceived as reliable in court, and often establish the indisputable facts of the case. However, there are many opportunities for subjectivity and interpretation during the digital forensic process. So, how reliable is the digital forensic examiner? Do digital forensic examiners produce consistent results? To answer these questions, an experiment involving more than 50 European digital forensic examiners were conducted, and the initial results will be presented. 

A research direction in digital forensics: Where do we go from here? 

Dr Graeme Horsman

In 2019, the Science and Technology Select Committee released the report ‘Forensic science and the criminal justice system: a blueprint for change’ documenting various concerns in forensic science in England and Wales specifically with reference to digital forensics. This talk defines a research direction for the digital forensics field highlighting areas in need of work and investment to ensure quality assurance in digital evidence.  

Digital Forensics in the field  – a Defence perspective

- Dr Jan Collie

Solving crime is not a one-act play in which people are arrested, charged and taken to court.  Under UK law, a person is innocent until proven guilty.  For justice to be seen to be done, therefore, anyone caught up in a crime must be allowed a defence.  Enter the private digital forensic analyst, the specialist investigator who must interact with police, scrutinise the evidence and check any results.  But first, s/he must get access to the evidence - a process that is often fraught with difficulty and subject to delay. And there will be many further hurdles to clear before a case comes before a Judge and Jury.

What happens if the Prosecution analysis is faulty or just plain wrong?  What happens if it’s right but important, incriminating evidence has been missed?  What happens when the Defendant has to be told that nothing can be done to help?  These and other questions will be covered in this talk.

Nina Sunde, MSc, PhD student , Detective Superintendent - Norwegian Police College University
Graeme Horsman, Senior Lecturer - Teesside University
Jan Collie, Principal & Senior Forensic Investigator - Discovery Forensics