Digital Forensic Science: An Oxymoron?
Legal Issues Journal 6(2)
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Caddy and Cobb define forensic science as “…science used for the purpose of law.” This definition strongly implies that a foundation in law is one of the requisites for any branch of the forensic sciences. The Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) defines digital evidence as “…Information of probative value stored or transmitted in digital form. Taken as a pair, these two definitions connect the law and science solidly.
Generally, science and the law as tied together by Caddy and Cobb are a typical fragment of almost all definitions of forensic science. As well, SWGDE talks about the “probative value” of digital evidence, echoing _Black’s Law Dictionary_’s definition of evidence: “Something that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact.”
If this strong connection between law and forensic science is axiomatic, why, then, are digital (or “cyber” in today’s vernacular) forensic students taught almost nothing of the law and why is cyber forensics often taught in the criminal justice departments (typically part of the social sciences curriculum) rather than in computer science departments in most American universities?
This paper takes the position that facing the challenges relative to cyber forensic science requires a far stronger academic footing that it now enjoys – especially in the law and its relationship to cyber science and forensics - and greater attention to clear definitions of what cyber forensic science is and how it relates to science, technology and the law.