What Every Attorney Needs to Know about Computer Forensics, Part 3: What Criminal Defense Attorneys Need to Know about Computer Forensics

July 6, 2016 - from DisputeSoft's G. Hunter Jones

When our computer forensics experts are engaged on a criminal case, our client is almost always counsel for the defense. Most law enforcement jurisdictions have in-house Computer Forensics specialists; thus most of our forensic engagements come from defense counsel rather than the prosecution. Thus, most of the work performed by our Computer Forensics experts is directed toward rebutting or challenging evidence presented by the prosecution.

Evidence derived from Computer Forensics can come from a wide array of sources – computers, tablets, smart phones, cameras (including surveillance cameras), GPS units, cell towers, or any other digital device that tracks and retains information about its user or its user’s activities. This information can be used to show where a person was at a specific time, what the person searched for, looked at, or took pictures of, who the person corresponded with and what he/she said, and, in the case of surveillance footage, exactly what a person …

Oracle v. Google Update: Ninth Circuit Declares Google’s Actions Fair Use

June 7, 2016 - from Ars Technica

As reported by Ars Technica, the District Court for the Northern District of California has determined that Google’s use of 37 Java API’s in the creation of Android was fair use.

Google’s arguments proceeded on two primary points: that the Java language and APIs are and always have been treated as “open and free”; and that “Android was a brand-new use for the Java APIs, ‘a use that no other company, before or since, has been able to achieve.’” In essence, Google argued that what was used was freely available for all, that the use of the Java APIs differed greatly from how they were intended to be used, and that because of Android’s great success, Oracle sought to cash-in and take credit for what Android has accomplished in the mobile phone market.

Oracle argued that each factor of the fair use analysis weighed heavily in its favor. Oracle stated that “Google copied the heart of that platform” when it copied the Java API’s and noted that “[i]f [what they copied] wasn’t important, why did Google copy it?” Oracle also maintained that they had “suffered serious harm as their Java-licensing business cratered.” Oracle argued that Google’s use of the …

What Every Attorney Needs to Know about Computer Forensics, Part 2: The Difference between Electronic Discovery and Computer Forensics

May 12, 2016 - from DisputeSoft's G. Hunter Jones

Electronic Discovery and Computer Forensics seem pretty similar at first glance: both involve the location, recovery, and review of electronically stored information (ESI), and both deal with the responsible preservation of that data. But the two fields are actually quite different; they require different types of expertise, and they have markedly different goals and outcomes.

“E-Discovery” refers to the identification and preservation of electronic files for litigation with the goal of allowing counsel to make determinations about which electronic files are relevant or privileged. Specialized software from E-Discovery vendors allows for the identification, capture, de-duplication, indexing, storage, retrieval and commenting of electronically stored documents, including emails.

“Computer Forensics,” on the other hand, refers to the investigation and analysis of computers, networks, and digital storage devices to determine how that device was used (e.g., to access terrorist websites; to send threatening emails; to distribute pornography). Such uses, historically the realm of law enforcement, are now used extensively in (a) investigations (e.g., does examination of a CEO’s computer indicate she had knowledge of and approved a particular decision?); and (b) litigation (e.g., was a will modified after the decedent’s death?; was a medical report altered after the patient’s death?).

Specialized equipment and …