Project 1: Case Analysis

Identify two reported cases that have impacted the evidentiary process or analysis in digital forensic cases; will cite the case and summarize the issue before the court; the majority of the analysis should be dedicated to the impact the cases had on the application of digital evidence in the criminal justice system or the manner in which the digital forensic analyst performs his/her function.

You may use the following cases as examples of court decisions that impact on the collection and use of digital evidence:

United States v. Gourde, 440 F.3d 1065, 1077 (9th Cir. 2006) Court ruled that probable cause existed to search the defendant’s home computer based in part on his two-month subscription to a website that offered child pornography. Noteworthy is the extent to which dissenting opinions expressed concern about the door being opened to governmental invasion of privacy as it relates to digital evidence. Statement from the case: “For most people, their computers are their most private spaces.”

United States v. Simons, 206 F. 3d 392 (4th Cir., February 28, 2000) – employees do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding work-related electronic communications.

State of New Jersey v. Shirley Reid (2007). This case is sometimes referenced to show: (a) some states are providing more privacy protection to computer users than the feds, and (b) case law on privacy involving digital evidence is still evolving. Prosecutors claim Reid broke into her employer’s computers and changed information. Police subpoenaed Comcast Internet Service, and ascertained Reid’s identity. The lower court suppressed information from Comcast that linked Reid with the crime. New Jersey appellate court agreed. As a result, New Jersey offers greater privacy rights to computer users than most federal courts.

United States v. Zeigler., 474 F.3d 1184 (9th Cir., January 30, 2007) Supreme Court acknowledges reasonable expectation of privacy at the office and on the computer; holds that the Fourth Amendment protects both the office and computer from warrantless searches by the Government unless it obtains valid consent from either the defendant or one with common authority over the items searched; however, in this case, the employer was allowed to consent to a computer search based upon “common authority.”

Project Requirements:

4 full pages minimum (approximately 2 pages per case) Paper should be initiated with an introductory paragraph and ended with a conclusion

Cover page (not included in page count): course number, the course title, title of the paper, student’s name, date of submission

Format: 12-point font, double-spaced, one-inch margin

Bibliography/reference page (not included in page count): APA citation style, textbook included as a reference


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