The Importance of Due Process in a Digital Forensics Investigation

Due process grants every citizen their legal rights as protected by the 5th and 14th amendments, and states that they all citizens must be treated fairly and justly throughout all legal procedures. This also means citizens cannot have their property stripped from them without legal cause—and that includes digital property. Here, the digital forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics explain how due process has a crucial role in collecting and analyzing digital property in a forensic investigation.

Due Process Protects the Right to Life, Liberty and Property for Every Citizen

Both the 5th Amendment and the 14th Amendment protect every citizen’s rights at the federal and state level. The 5th Amendment prohibits the federal government from stripping citizens of their basic rights, which is why defendants in a criminal case can “plead the fifth” as to avoid implicating themselves. In addition, the 14th Amendment protects citizens at the state level, as it prohibits states from creating laws that deprive citizens of their fundamental rights.

Digital Information and Property Complicates the Concept of Privacy

In today’s digital age, a significant amount of a citizen’s personal property and information can exist digitally, which blurs our previous definitions and standards of privacy. In addition, with private information stored on cloud-computing devices, the modern legal system has had the responsibility of defining what is private and what is public in terms of digital property and information. That is why there is a strict process that all digital forensics specialists must follow to ensure the rights of the defendant as well as the integrity of any potential evidence.

It is Imperative for Digital Forensics Specialists to Follow Correct Processes

Data forensics specialists have a unique ability to uncover digital information that can be used as evidence in a criminal investigation. This important job does not come without its responsibilities, and it is essential for any collected data to be handled properly in order for it to be admissible in court. A digital forensics investigation conducted by a data forensics specialist consists of three major steps: evidence acquisition, examination and documentation. Evidence assessment and acquisition consists of collecting evidence that could be used in the investigation, and this step is a crucial part of the process. It is a step that must be followed correctly and within the limits of the law so as to not impose on the defendant’s lawful right to their property. That is why the acquisition of evidence is a detailed and extensive process that requires documentation throughout the entire investigation. This step is not only important in preserving the integrity and admissibility of the evidence, but ensuring that the acquisition of potential evidence remains lawful.

After potential evidence is properly collected and assessed, it can be examined by data forensics specialists as well as attorneys and criminal investigators to determine if it implicates the defendant in question. Lastly, the reporting process consists of the proper documentation and recording of the methodologies used throughout the investigation. This confirms the authenticity of both the evidence and the processes used in collecting and analyzing it, and proves that the data forensics specialists were within their legal rights to collect and analyze this evidence.

Learn More From a Digital Forensics Specialist at Atlantic Data Forensics Today

Not only does the dedicated team of digital forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics have years of experience successfully collecting and analyzing potential evidence for criminal investigations, they uphold the importance of due process in a digital forensics investigation as it protects the fundamental rights of each and every U.S. citizen. To learn more about the relationship between due process and digital forensics, contact the digital forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics today.