Generally speaking, globalisation of criminality requires the tight collaboration of the law enforcement and judiciary systems of different countries: evidence obtained in a State has to be shared and accepted in other States, while simultaneously observing fundamental rights and substantial or procedural safeguards. The lack of legislation and standards at the national and international level obviously makes this particularly difficult.
EVIDENCE sets the proper scenario and framework for designing new relationship among all actors involved in the electronic evidence process at European and international level by setting common rules for exchanging and sharing evidence in deep security and in compliance with data protection and fundamental rights.
Furthermore, this investigation develops and reinforces the networking between the EU States and candidate states. It permits the exchange of information and experiences at the European level and cooperation between legal authorities, lawyers, police and private experts. It is a way of developing the European Judicial Space, fighting together against technological crimes. Moreover, the connections established through co-ordination and networking during this project may be able to sustain the research agenda proposed beyond the end of this project.
Therefore EVIDENCE Road Map will greatly impact on the existing scenario by:
- influencing in a positive way judges, who are the key actors in admitting electronic evidence and police experts holding the main position in gathering evidence;
- producing the effect of positively influencing the perceptions of security, reliability held by different agents by adjusting and creating national and supranational legislation;
- enhancing confidence in the experts related to the collection, analysis and conservation of electronic evidence;
- supporting training, knowledge and experience necessary and indispensable elements for experts;
- improving communication between the actors related to electronic evidence, at the national, European and international level;
- foresighting future actions and plans to be undertaken by future policies, programs and plans, considering also the possible application, re-use and adaptation of the EVIDENCE road map to other legal domains different from the criminal one (civil justice, administrative justice, etc.).
More specifically the work undertaken by the EVIDENCE consortium will make a high quality contribution not only to the impacts expected by the call, but also towards the impacts expected of the security work programme more broadly. EVIDENCE aims at achieving this by focusing its attention upon:
- the contested and multiple definitions and concepts of digital evidence;
- how electronic evidence is perceived and eventually regulated in the EU framework in order to guarantee a uniform regulation of electronic evidence;
- identification of a definition of open/widely available standards, assuring not only the international transfer of evidence but also the chain-of-custody requirements and the protection of the means of proof;
- provision of an overview and a status quo assessment of the collection, preservation and exchange of evidence obtained using new technologies (‘electronic evidence’) from the standpoint of law enforcement, and to propose guidelines that could be integrated into a Common European Framework governing this field;
- balance between efficient investigation and sufficient protection of each individuals’ privacy;
- determination of the market size for any technical solution is an important information source for policy makers when deciding on how to promote a common harmonized European approach to evidence collection;
- production of a feasibility study tracing the route to be followed (legislation, recommendations, guidelines, technical standards etc.) for realising a Common European Framework for the application of new technologies in the collection, use and exchange of evidence.
These activities will have a significant impact in order to:
- reduce delay and hence increased efficiency;
- allow for smoother transactions and exchange;
- allow mobility both in collection points and in the sharing of evidence;
- allow the creation of applications for mobile computing platforms but that can be used on a static platform for trans-national exchanging evidence.