Mark Hirsh

Abstract

The American Society of Crime Laboratory Director (ASCLD) has recently defined criteria for accrediting forensic crime laboratories that process, examine, and evaluate digital evidence. ASCLD is pursuing this objective because the organization believes laboratory accreditation is an essential component of the forensic process. Benefits of accreditation are multifaceted - Examiners will be able to better articulate the procedures of the laboratory on the witness stand; Examiners will have more information ensuring the quality of their work; Examiner findings will be more readily accepted by the court because standard, widely accepted processes and procedures have been followed in examining the evidence; and lastly, the laboratory will be open to inspection by independent experts who will measure it against national standards. One of the primary requirements of accreditation is that the lab use technical procedures that have been scientifically validated. In an attempt to address issues inherent in the validation process, the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Institute (DCCI) is proposing the initiation of a broad-based, community-wide effort to test and evaluate the forensics soundness of products that are or can potentially be used by digital forensics examiners. The test and evaluation process and procedures should be formal and repeatable. The objective is to ensure to the maximum extent possible that the findings resulting from the use of tested, validated products are accurate and irrefutable in a court of law.