‘EVIDENCE Annual Conference: Digital Evidence Trends and Perspectives’ took place in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 29-30 September, 2016. The event was focused on bringing together different stakeholders in this network – including policy makers, LEAs, associations of judges/bars, prosecutors, lawyers, forensic experts and forensic associations, governmental organisations, civil society and academics – to collectively share knowledge and experience, discuss on critical issues, decision-making, and practices, and develop recommended ways forward on the issues of digital evidence.
Aware that the field of digital evidence is ever-changing and that the technical possibilities are in constant development allowing for new technical/legal solutions, part of the EVIDENCE’s task is to work on considering a number of possible (legal) solutions to ensure that effective criminal investigation can take place and that European values and fundamental human rights can be properly respected. The main objective of this first EVIDENCE Annual Conference is the consultation of a Road Map outlining a desirable future technological, legal and institutional framework for the continuous development in the domain of digital evidence.
The various Work Packages (WPs) of the EVIDENCE project researched the legal, standard, technical, law enforcement, and market and data protection status quo as regards the collection, preservation, use and exchange of electronic evidence and identified the challenges and shortcomings thereof. Based on the findings of the project and in particular on the challenges and shortcomings, WP9 ‘Preparing a Road Map for a Common European Framework’ Team is working on producing a Roadmap for realising the missing Common European Framework. The Team had identified the actions that need to be taken for the introduction of a new technical standard on the legal, political, technical, ethical, and social perspectives level. The actions include legal, political, technical, ethical and social action, LEA action and professionalization in the field of digital forensics and further research. Based on these actions this Road Map Implementation Plan was drafted as a basis for the Road Map in order to introduce and prioritise the actions needed to enable a more efficient platform for the application of new technologies in the collection, preservation, use and exchange of electronic evidence.
All of these aspects have been incorporated within the respective sessions of the EVIDENCE Conference involving as different expertise and perspectives as possible; and the Road Map Implementation Plan has been discussed in details during the final session of the event. Special guests of the event are experts from INTERPOL, EUROPOL, EUROJUST, International Criminal Court, law enforcement agencies and judiciary institutions from France, Italy, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Brazil, as well as representatives from academia, research institutions, private forensic or forensic-related companies, etc.
The EVIDENCE Conference Agenda included
- Expert discussion on topics related to different actors working in the processes of collection, preservation, use, and exchange of electronic evidence; enhancing international legal cooperation with focus on privacy, data protection, and international law dimensions of evidence; certification and professionalization in the field; testing, validation, and standard setting of digital forensic tools; and standards for representing and exchanging evidence; followed by
- Structured and detailed discussion on the EVIDENCE Road Map Implementation Plan and the possible short/medium/long term solutions and how these solutions will lead to the development of the Common European Framework for the systematic and uniform application of new technologies in the collection, preservation, use, and exchange of electronic evidence.
The workshop was attended by 96 people, representing 55 organizations based in 17 countries around the globe and some international bodies.
The EVIDENCE Conference on the digital evidence trends and perspectives was organized by Law and Internet Foundation (LIF) and formally hosted by the Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques of the Italian National Research Council (CNR-ITTIG), Italy, being the project co-ordinating organization, and the University of Groningen (RUG), Netherlands, being the Work Package 9 ‘Preparing a Road Map for a Common European Framework’ Leader.