In today’s electronic world the vast majority of us use a computer to do just about everything, from corresponding with friends halfway across the world to conducting a business meeting with someone in the next office. Unfortunately, the seemingly endless ability of computers has not gone unnoticed by the criminal element. Just as we use our computers in productive, and legal, ways, the criminal element uses computers to facilitate the commission of crimes. Because criminals are now using computers in new and creative ways, law enforcement has to the do the same. In fact, law enforcement officers are (ideally) one step ahead and frequently use computer forensics as a tool during the investigation of a crime.
Computer forensics aims to gather and preserve evidence from an electronic device by the use of sophisticated investigation and analysis techniques. For computer forensics to be useful to law enforcement the evidence gathered must be able to be used in a court of law. In essence, this is similar to dissecting a human body. The inside of a computer can also be “dissected” to find out when a computer was used and how it was used. Typically, a computer forensic expert will make a copy of everything on the original device and work off of the copy. Every folder will be examined, deleted files will be reconstructed, and empty storage space checked for evidence of past or present data. The evidence that could be uncovered using computer forensics is virtually limitless; however, some of the more common types of evidence located include:
• Personal information used for identity theft
• Financial data used for white collar crimes
• Personal financial records showing the proceeds of criminal activity
• “Stock” or “product ”lists if the suspect is selling or transporting something illegal
• Pornographic photos or videos showing child pornography
• Money laundering records
As computer technology becomes more advanced, so do the ways in which that technology can be used to commit crimes. Consequently, law enforcement must struggle to stay one step ahead by developing ways to retrieve deleted files, trace the origin of electronic communications, and otherwise be able to use electronic records as evidence in a criminal prosecution. All of that is part of computer forensics.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska that involves the use of computers or computer records, it is imperative that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with computer forensics. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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