Forensics is the practice of applying scientific knowledge in the analysis, collection, and presentation of information and evidence to the courts (Nolan, O’Sullivan, Branson, & Waits, 2005, p. 10, p. 3). Computer forensics is a practically new discipline to the courts and a number of the existing legal precedents, related practices to computer forensics, and laws applied to act against computer-related crimes are still under continuous discussion.
Nevertheless, law enforcements all have a basic knowledge of the several exceptions and restrictions of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. As such, the Amendment has resulted significant impact on how the law enforcement officers conduct themselves during search and seizure operations. The rules laid down by the Fourth Amendment suggest that every individual must benefit from a reasonable expectation of privacy.
What network security personnel and system administrators need to realize is that in the electronic world individuals enjoy a certain degree of privacy (Nolan, O’Sullivan, Branson, & Waits, 2005, p. 10). While searching encrypted files and access-controlled systems, an investigator may be faced with a system that is protected logically or physically (Information System Security, 1997, p. 27). For instance, CPU key locks and other physical security devices that prevent minor obstacle as well as some other types of physical access control systems that are harder to break are occasionally confronted by an officer during search.
However, individuals generally safeguard a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of closed containers and in data held within electronic storage devices. For that reason, accessing stored information in a computer will incriminate the owner’s reasonable expectation of privacy in the information; therefore, a valid warrant is necessarily required in conducting the search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment protects every individual from unreasonable searches and seizures carried out by government agents.
If evidence or information is collected in a way that is conflicting with the provisions of the Fourth Amendment, the evidence or information and all other evidence and information later discovered or obtained on account of the original ones will be deemed inadmissible by the courts. References Nolan, R. , O’Sullivan, C. , Branson, J. , & Waits, C. (2005, March). First Responders Guide to Computer Forensics. Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. Information System Security. (1997). Computer Crime Investigation & Computer Forensic. Retrieved April 10, 2009, from http://www. moreilly. com/CISSP/DomA-2-Computer_Crime_investigation. pdf