December 02, 2015 Articles

Adapting the Collections Process to Accommodate Nontraditional Data Sources

By Steve Ramey and Katie Askey

In our previous article, "Beyond Document Review: The Discoverability of Nontraditional Sources" from Spring 2015, we introduced the concept of nontraditional electronically stored information (ESI) and the importance of capturing this data in a meaningful way. This article takes a deeper look into how the collections process can be affected by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and adapted for nontraditional ESI such as structured data, audio, chat, mobile device data, and social media.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
Digital forensic examiners have the difficult job of balancing the investigation of leads as they are uncovered while still remaining within the scope of their investigation. User names, passwords, account numbers, and protected and proprietary information are often uncovered, recovered, and provided during forensic investigations. Digital forensic examiners, in particular, have access to and are granted access to this information to perform their job. Digital forensic examiners are hired to collect information from cloud accounts, mobile devices, computers, and other digital storage media, whether physically present or across a network. These devices usually contain the life and soul of a person or a company. It is imperative that the digital forensic examiner exercises control over and protects the security of this information, as one misstep could turn the examiner into a criminal.

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