AbstractThe amount of electronic data that is held about individuals and their activities is staggering. Tools enabling data recovery, believed deleted, vary in consistency and reliability of result. Data under review can be fed into investigative tools which also vary immensely in reliability, consistency, quality and indeed price. Conclusions and inferences drawn from the use of these tools can be morally, socially and commercially damaging for the individuals or entities being investigated. Often not purely because of the lack of experience of the investigator, but also because of the simplistic operation of the toolsets. Whilst prescriptive guidelines exist in the public sector for the proper handling, analysis and reporting of computer evidence, little commercially independent professional guidance exists in the private sector. This lack of guidance has led to a position whereby actors in the field of data forensics have few challenges as to their expertise or experience. Recent cases of incompetence and crossing ethical and professional boundaries provide strong support for a National, preferably International certification and training scheme for data forensic analysts, supported by clear ethical codes. This research in light of the above challenges, provides examples of failures in extrapolation, operator understanding and tool use; argues a proposal for a code of conduct to ensure correct and repeatable process is followed; along with a suggested outline for the creation of the supervision of conformity to that code in the private sector. The current forensics community and academic research body of knowledge, supported by the extensive experience of the researcher have been the major inputs to the work. The outputs of this work are intended to form a solid base for the furtherance of the Computer Forensics profession, and as such will represent a significant contribution to the advancement and knowledge base of that profession.
Gay, James Ronald (2012) A Code of Conduct for Computer Forensic Investigators. Professional doctorate thesis, University of East London.