Review of Laws and Other Regulations Governing Ethical and Data Protection Issues Related to the Exchange of Digital Evidence

The laws and procedures regulating the collection, preservation and exchange of electronic evidence by law enforcement agencies are crucial as they determine the admissibility of that evidence in court and its probative value, thus fundamentally affecting the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Reflecting this issue, EVIDENCE Team reviewed laws and other regulations governing ethical and data protection issues related to carrying out research on the exchange of digital evidence in the countries and the international organization involved in the project and produced Deliverable 6.4, showing per project country/organization involved: (a) the ethical issues and data protection according to the national/local legal framework; (b) the procedures to be applied when dealing with ethical and data protection issues; and (c) the type of documentation (authorization, notification, approval) required.

Addressing these requirements, EVIDENCE partners were asked to: (1) list the relevant laws and or guidelines on data protection and ethical review that may be applicable in the respective country and/or institution when carrying out research on the collection, preservation and exchange of electronic evidence by law enforcement; (2) list and explain the relevant procedures that may need to be followed when carrying out research on the collection, preservation and exchange of electronic evidence by law enforcement; (3) list the type of documentation that may be required for data protection and/or ethical review processes (e.g. authorizations, notifications, approvals); and (4) express their professional opinion whether any of these processes have to be followed when carrying out the WP for which they are responsible or may be involved in under the EVIDENCE project.