Over the past decade, forensics experts have seen an increased use of digital evidence during family law proceedings. Given how much our lives have become increasingly tied to the many digital devices that make day-to-day living more efficient, we don’t realize that the electronic trail left behind becomes a record of the way we live. This includes:
* Desktop/Laptop computers
* Cell phones, BlackBerry, iPhone, and PDA
* Digital cameras/recorders
* iPod/digital music/video players
* GPS systems
The electronic evidence extracted from the digital devices is increasingly making its way into divorce court cases as more and more couples want to learn about their partner’s digital activities, plotting almost indefensible maps of a cheating spouse’s footprints.
What Digital Evidence Can Be Found?
Information that can be obtained includes:
* E-Mail and instant messages
* Names and address of financial institutions
* Asset and /or fund transfers
* Debt information and account activities
* User names and passwords
* Traces of Website visited/Internet history
* Deleted or encrypted files
Many of these sources include time-specific information, which can help build time lines in investigations. Digital evidence can be powerful, but it is often perishable and transient, and can be misleading. The key is to quickly identify and retrieve the pertinent facts before they are erased forever, and to subject the data to a fair and rigorous review by a trained expert.
In a world of increased dependency on electronic and computer-based technologies, evidence does not necessarily present itself as it has in the past. Digital evidence is critical in these cases and many times is the difference between settling a case and winning a case.
A growing number of firms such as TERIS provide these and related digital and eDiscovery services to law firms.