Feeds

US laws restrict computer forensics to gumshoes

Jobs for the boys?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More US states are moving towards laws that limit computer forensics work to those with Private Investigator licences, or people contracted to work for licensed investigative agencies.

Pending legislation in South Carolina would limit the specialist work of capturing and making sense of evidence on computer discs and server logs to businesses whose main line of work is serving legal process or matrimonial investigations. The bill covers computers forensic evidence presented in court.

Computer evidence compiled by unlicensed practitioners would be excluded from admission in either civil or criminal cases under the regulation. Those caught practicing without a licence to collect evidence for court (though not on a private basis) could face criminal prosecution.

Enterprises or private individuals would still be free to hire anyone they choose for private investigations. Computer forensics is often used as an internal investigatory tool following computer intrusions, or in response to suspicion of staff misuse of internet resources.

Georgia, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington already have similar legislation, Baseline Magazine reports. The idea is that by restricting the preparation of computer forensics work for presentation in court promotes higher standards and keeps out the cowboys.

However, expecting computer forensics experts to have a PI licence makes about as much sense as requiring PIs to have computer science degrees. Most private investigators come from a police or forces background. The regulations smack of protectionism.

Commonly, specialist agencies handle IT-related work such as counter-surveillance and forensic examination. Data recovery firms and others with computer forensics expertise may be equally capable in preserving and processing computer evidence, but are locked out of the business in the US, unlike other countries such as the UK where such firms are typically swamped with work. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.