Encryption? Law enforcement’s biggest obstacle to digital evidence is more basic, study finds.
The major problem law enforcement faces in obtaining digital evidence is not the encryption of devices but figuring out which company holds the relevant data and how to get it, according to a study released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Though much of the debate around access to digital evidence has focused on the challenges law enforcement agencies face in cracking encrypted devices or decoding encrypted data, CSIS researchers William A. Carter and Jennifer Daskal have found that the biggest hurdle is actually identifying the phone or email service provider that holds the data. Obtaining the data sought once the company has been identified ranks a close second, they found.The issue may seem obscure, but it matters to the thousands of state and local police departments that investigate the majority of violent crimes in the country, the researchers said. In the past, agents with a search warrant could conduct searches of a house or other property on their own, but today more and more of the evidence they seek lies in communications stored by distant technology firms.
Encryption? Law enforcement’s biggest obstacle to digital evidence is more basic, study finds. Low-Hanging Fruit: Evidence-Based Solutions to the Digital Evidence Challenge (read the report)