The overall structure of EVIDENCE's work and implementation plan is summarized in the figure below.
In order to achieve the objectives of the project, EVIDENCE has seven research work packages. Each work package is led by an experienced project member who is responsible for clearly delineated, measurable deliverables. The work packages are carried out in the context of four distinct project streams which build on and inform each other:
- Status Quo Analysis (WP2, WP3, WP4, WP6, WP8),
- Technical Functionalities development (WP5),
- Impact and Testing (WP5, WP7), and
- Road Map (WP9).
The project moves from an ‘as is’ analysis to the envisioning of future counter measures and research.
The seven work packages exploring fundamental issues through both theoretical and applied research are complemented by three other Work Packages designed to ensure that the EVIDENCE project, which groups nearly 25 researchers from ten institutions in six EU Member States, is fully compliant with the highest standards of project management in international collaborative research. Thus, WP1 deals with project management and co-ordination across the entire EVIDENCE project while WP10 provides an internal evaluation function. WP11 serves to build strong relations with stakeholders and focus effort on dissemination of the project results across the widest possible range of audiences.
The EVIDENCE project will be co-managed through a Steering Committee on the basis of the joint responsibility principle. External input, advice and feedback will be provided by members of the External Advisory Group (EAG). Dissemination of the project outcomes will be carried out in the context of a dedicated work package (WP11) that which will be in close cooperate with all other work packages to achieve the widest possible dissemination of information to the relevant stakeholders and policy makers.
The project aims at producing a balanced and well-rounded approach to mapping out existing regulation implemented in the 28 EU Member states with the need for a uniform and standardized approach based upon a unique Common Legal Framework guaranteeing the general validity/reliability/certainty of electronic evidence when gathered and eventually exchanged. This complete process from mapping and categorisation electronic evidence to the testing of desirable standards, rules and approaches will form the basis of a road that satisfies the need of a Common European Framework regulating in a uniform and standardized way the use of ICTs in gathering and exchanging evidence in a democratic society where privacy, data protection and procedural safeguards are fundamental rights.
The project seeks to do so by:
Within the Status Quo Analysis Stream
- Carrying out a classification of relevant concepts of electronic evidence domain and related fields (criminal law, criminal procedure). This will lead to assess and produce a common and shared understanding of digital evidence gathering and exchanging. (WP2).
- Assessing and understanding whether and how electronic evidence is perceived and eventually regulated in the EU framework. Through a wide collection of relevant documentation and available information the legal framework will be identified and discussed in order to highlight criteria and rules to be applied for guaranteeing a uniform regulation of electronic evidence. Activities of the WP3 will focus not only on the domestic regulation but also on specific criteria implemented in each MS for transnational exchange of electronic evidence.
- Identifying the definition of open standards, assuring not only the international transfer of evidence but also the chain-of-custody requirements and the protection of the means of proof (WP4).
- Providing 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 (WP6).
Within the Impact and Testing Stream
- Reviewing the legal, ethical and societal implications (WP8) of the desired options;Testing the selected approaches (WP5) through a combination of real life case studies and involving end users, including INTERPOL’s Digital Crime Centre and national judicial and law enforcement authorities;
- Detecting Societal dynamics including market size (WP7).
Within the Way Forward Stream
Creating a Road Map and guidelines that would enable the setup of a Common European Framework for the regulation and standardization of electronic evidence gathering and exchange (WP9).