Digital Evidence and Search and Seizure Essay
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Gallant Computer Investigative Services, LLC1, provides computer forensic, electronic discovery, and incident response supports, as well as computer forensics training to law enforcement, IT professionals, and the legal community. Gallant Computer Investigative Services was founded by David Gallant, who has over 24 years of investigative experience, especially when he was serving as a federal agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). He contributed to the initial investigative activity for one of the most successful computer hacker investigations in history.
Following his retirement in 2001, he entered the corporate security world.
* Computer Forensics – GCIS provides systematic analysis of computer media using court and industry accepted software and techniques. They are mainly focused on criminal defense cases, theft of intellectual property, family law (divorce cases), probate cases (search for assets), violation of non-competition clauses, unauthorized use of corporate networks, and decryption of files. * Cell Phone Forensics – GCIS provides systematic analysis of cell phones and other portable devices. GCIS can forensically extract call history, SMS, images, internet browsing history, file system, phonebook, calendar, and stored media.
* On-site Forensics – GCIS is able to bring or ship a complete forensic network to customer’s location. Services include forensic imaging of computers and cell phones, and forensic procession using Forensic Toolkit’s distributed processing network feature. GCIS owns recreational vehicle which can operate in remote regions where office space and lodging is non-existent.
* Electronic Discovery, trainings, and other services.
DataChasers2 is a small company and its team includes eight professionals who have specialized skills outside the normal realm of computer forensics and hold multiple certifications specific to computer forensics. Company was established in 1999 and operates mainly in California, however, they have cases in many areas of the south-western U.S. Computer forensics and e-discovery is their only business. DataChasers was founded by Rick Albee, who has been awarded for “Demonstrated Leadership and Achievement In the Field of Forensic Computer Evidence” in Who’s Who of America Small Business. Moreover, DataChasers was noted in a theft of intellectual properties case in the Forbes magazine.
* Computer Forensics – DataChasers provides recovering deleted files, e-mail recovery, tracing internet activity, surfing history, download history, and manipulation of data. DataChasers is also able to help in intellectual property cases, family law, employment law, probate resolution, asset verification, and criminal law as prosecution or defense. They are able to assist in court case by litigation support, trial preparation, experienced expert witnesses, and professional courtroom displays.
* Cellular Forensics
* E-discovery – DataChasers provides Electronically Stored Information (ESI) retrieval and production, turning paper hard-copy into searchable ESI format, consulting on data management, litigation support and trial preparation. * Expert Witness Testimony – DataChasers has the distinction of having served as Special Master to Federal Court, as well as being the expert in numerous Superior and Municipal courts. All DataChasers examiners have extensive litigation experience. Computer Forensic Services, Inc.
Computer Forensic Services, Inc.3 provides electronic discovery, forensic analysis, litigation support, and advisory and consultation services. Their expert forensic examiners include federally trained analysts who specialize in computer evidence and have many years of professional experience in both law enforcement and information technology. CFS’s CEO and Chief Technology Officer Mark Lanterman has over 11 years of law enforcement experience as a police investigator and is recognized as an expert witness. He received recognition in 2003 from Director of the U.S. Secret Service for his contributions to law enforcement.
* Electronic Discovery – CFS’s process of electronic discovery involves complex data manipulation and reduction utilizing sophisticated software tools and techniques. CFS has years of experience investigation complex cases and its process includes steps as data collection, data sifting, and presenting deliverables in a form that can be used by legal counsel. * Computer Forensics – This service consists of Forensic Imaging and Data Analysis & Recovery. * Information Security – CFS provides a strategic, comprehensive security solution on current best-practices and on established security standards and regulations. These security services include discovery of current level of security, development of business-appropriate security environment, and monitoring security anomalies that could require reconfiguration or investigation.
* Litigation Support
* CLE Training – CLS provides CLE lectures for attorneys and staff. * Law Enforcement Support
I tried to list offered services of all three companies and find out whether there are some significant differences, but based on their webpages all companies provide almost the same services.
As I come from the Czech Republic, our jurisdiction is based on civil law system which is greatly different from common law system followed by the USA. Based on the article “Common Law vs. Civil Law”4, I list features of both these systems.
Features of a common law system (USA) include
* There is not always a written constitution or codified laws; * Judicial decisions are binding – decisions of the highest court can generally only be overturned by that same court or through legislation; * Extensive freedom of contract – few provisions are implied into the contract by law (although provisions seeking to protect private consumers may be implied); * Generally, everything is permitted that is not expressly prohibited by law. Features of a civil law system (Czech Republic) include
* There is generally a written constitution based on specific codes (e.g., civil code, codes covering corporate law, administrative law, tax law and constitutional law) enshrining basic rights and duties; administrative law is however usually less codified and administrative court judges tend to behave more like common law judges; * Only legislative enactments are considered binding for all. There is little scope for judge-made law in civil, criminal and commercial courts, although in practice judges tend to follow previous judicial decisions; constitutional and administrative courts can nullify laws and regulations and their decisions in such cases are binding for all. * Courts specific to the underlying codes – there are therefore usually separate constitutional court, administrative court and civil court systems that opine on consistency of legislation and administrative acts with and interpret that specific code;
* Less freedom of contract – many provisions are implied into the contract by law and parties cannot contract out of certain provisions. In Czech law system there is generally a written constitution based on specific codes and precedent principle is not established. Based on paper “The Criminal Justice System in the Czech Republic”5, Criminal law in the Czech Republic is for the most part codified in one act called Criminal Code which is being continuously updated. Current version (only in Czech) is accessible from this address: http://portal.gov.cz/app/zakony/zakonPar.jsp?page=0&idBiblio=68040&fulltext=&nr=40~2F2009&part=&name=&rpp=15#local-content.
To be a successful computer forensics investigator, I have to be familiar with more than one computing platform. However, no one can be expert in every aspect, it’s important to develop my own network of professionals. I would begin by looking for groups of professional investigators in my surrounding – for example Computer Technology Investigators Network (CTIN) and Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA). I would start attending theirs meetings and try to become a member. Then if you are a member of one of these user groups, you get more credibility and can start share your experience, offer your skills, and try to maintain contacts by other professionals through e-mail. I think the best way how to find whether they are legitimate, is to discuss their experience and get recommendation for them from another people.
1. Gallant Computer Investigative Services, LLC (GCIS). Available at: http://www.whatsonthecomputer.com. Accessed August 30, 2012. 2. DataChasers INC. Available at: http://www.datachaserscomputerforensics.com. Accessed August 31, 2012. 3. Computer Forensic Services, Inc. Available at: http://www.compforensics.com. Accessed August 31, 2012. 4. Key Features of Common Law or Civil Law Systems. PPP in Infrastructure Resource Center for Contracts, Laws and Regulation. Available at: http://ppp.worldbank.org/public-private-partnership/legislation-regulation/framework-assessment/legal-systems/common-vs-civil-law. Accessed September 1, 2012. 5. The Criminal Justice System in the Czech Republic. Available at: http://www.ok.cz/iksp/en/docs/s279.pdf. Accessed September 1, 2012. 6. Nelson B, Amelia P, Enfinger F, et al. Guide to Computer Forensics and Investigations. 3rd Edition, Thomson Course Technology; 2008:8-9.