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Ethical Concerns Discussion Response

Ethical Concerns Discussion Response

Question Description

I’m studying for my Law class and need an explanation.

What do you think are the two top ethical concerns in digital forensic investigations and why are these such important concerns? In addition to sharing your two top ethical concerns, discuss two ethical guidelines you think should be in place regarding recovery and investigation and why.

to this post (Amber):

It is my opinion that one of the top two ethical concerns in digital forensics, is the need for honest forensic investigators. There have been known cases of digital forensic investigators lying about their credentials (Seigfried-Spellar, Rogers, & Crimmins, 2017, p. 136). This is a major problem when they are fulfilling the role of an expert witness. As we’ve learned in this course, there are a series of necessary steps that must be completed correctly to maintain the sanctity of evidence. By falsifying their credentials, they could bring validity and accuracy into question. In my opinion the thought of somebody mishandling digital evidence and accidentally destroying it is pretty terrifying. Without having up to date knowledge of digital devices and procedures to safely acquire evidence from them, destruction is sure to follow. Thankfully, those who are found to lie about their credentials have been prosecuted (Seigfried-Spellar, Rogers, & Crimmins, 2017, p. 136).

Another ethical concern would be between prosecutors and digital investigators. By nature, lawyers want to do everything possible to ‘win’ a case for their client. This could possibly become an issue when a cyber investigator is hired personally by a lawyer (Harrington, 2014). Digital investigators must conduct themselves honestly. Reports and testimony should never be written/spoken to support one side or another (Harrington, 2014). They also should not testify to the guilt or innocence of a person (Excellence-integrity-objectivity). This means that these digital investigators must tailor their testimonies and reports to only the facts. The facts should be stated simply and without any biases. The facts should also not be dramatized in any way (Harrington, 2014). By not looking at evidence unbiased, cases could be compromised, and a criminal could walk free. An even worse outcome would be an innocent person being convicted.

I think that one ethical issue regarding evidence recovery should be the dedication to safe recovery no matter how long it may take to complete. I think it is a bit of human nature to want to save as much time as possible when completing tasks. Digital evidence must be treated very specifically. This type of data/evidence can be very volatile, so cutting corners is not ethical in the business. Sometimes supervisors/managers shorten the amount of time employees have for deadlines. While this may always be stressful, some businesses can adapt to time constraints. However, in the digital forensics’ realm, it simply isn’t ethical. People’s lives hang in the balance, so taking short cuts should not be tolerated.

Also, digital forensic investigators have a mountain of information at their fingertips. They see a multitude of persona information. Bank records, medical records, pictures, and other personally identifiable information. It would be easy to use that type of information in a malicious way. Information should always be protected. While there are certain ‘rules’ that govern how the evidence should be handled and preserved, but recreating evidence for personal use is unethical. Guidelines that manage how evidence is re-created and where it is re-created. This also falls under the chain of custody. Since it documents who has had access to evidence, it could be used to produce a suspect list in the case of stolen identities or other types of fraud. Maybe creating a document like the chain of custody, but instead includes exactly what information was handled by who (instead of solely the devices retrieved) could provide an added layer of protection. This could be especially useful since computers and other digital devices can be ‘community’ devices. Personal information from those who are not being charged with a crime may reside on the device. Since their information may not be used as evidence it may not be tracked, this could provide added security.

Excellence-integrity-objectivity. (n.d.). Retrieved from Digital Forensics Certification Board: https://dfcb.org/code-of-ethics-and-standards-of-professional-conduct/

Harrington, S. (2014, June 11). Professional ethics in the digital forensics discipline: Part 2. Retrieved from Forensic Magazine Online: https://learn.umgc.edu/content/enforced/544170-027…

Seigfried-Spellar, K., Rogers, M., & Crimmins, D. (2017, May 16). Development of a professional code of ethics in digital forensics. Retrieved from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: https://learn.umgc.edu/content/enforced/544170-027…


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