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Effects of RULE 902(14) Amendment

A recent rule amendment was passed which reinforces best practices pertaining to digital forensics and eDiscovery investigations. It is critical in forensics that only qualified personnel handle electronic devices, and collect and analyze digital evidence. Examiners must be proficient in this specialized field of forensics, and their work must be credible, accurate, and reproducible if opposing counsel’s examiner conducts the same analysis on the device.

The Amendment to Rule 902(14), which went into effect on December 1, 2017, eliminated questionable evidence, such as screenshots, that may have been manipulated prior to being presented as evidence in court. Because digital forensics is a science, it requires qualified personnel to preserve, analyze, and report on the process and findings of an investigation.  Such processes and findings should, therefore, be repeatable by another expert and allow him/her to reach the same verified conclusions of the investigation.

In June of 2016, the National Commission on Forensic Science voted that digital evidence presented as part of a federal case should be processed by an accredited crime laboratory.  Digital forensic laboratories accredited through organizations such as ASCLD/LAB International must comply with the standard, validated procedures of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025:2017, which reinforces best practices for forensic examinations. Such procedures address not only standards for laboratory management, but also technical competency of personnel, testing methodology, equipment, quality assurance measures, and reporting of test results. Flashback Data, LLC has been internationally accredited as a computer forensics laboratory since 2010 through ASCLD/LAB. As part of this accreditation, its laboratory’s forensic examiners maintain certifications such as the Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) issued by the International Association of Criminal Investigative Specialists (IACIS) and undergo annual internal and external proficiency tests.

While the Amendment of Rule 902(14) currently applies to the federal courts, the rules of evidence for most states either mirror or closely resemble the federal rules of evidence; thus, it is expected that most states will soon adapt this amendment as well. Utilizing an accredited laboratory for digital forensic investigations ensures confidence and credibility in the results obtained that may be presented in court proceedings.

Although previously only offered to law enforcement agencies, Flashback Data, LLC is now extending its Casework Packages to law firms across the nation. These packages allow attorneys to receive discounts and other incentives when they choose to use Flashback Data, LLC as their own private digital crime laboratory. Contact us for more information about our investigative services and secure this special offer for your firm today.