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ETSI sets out standards for digital evidence

22/04/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

European standards organisation ETSI has published a standard for the use of digital evidence in legal proceedings.

Finger on darkened keyboard

The ETSI TS 103 643 technical specification covers the techniques for assurance of material that goes into a digital evidence bag (DEB) – the mechanism for bundling together digital evidence, associated metadata and audit logs.

ETSI said the move derives from the increasing use of digital material presented as evidence in legal proceedings, and the need for courts to be confident in the integrity of the data.

The techniques within the standard are aimed at ensuring that evidence is kept up-to-date as data formats change over time. They cover definitions of a standard and other types of DEB, saying they can be used in selecting which type to use, training staff and the management of evidence.

They take in in human and software components: the former covering issues such as whether people were properly trained and if a technician tested and calibrated equipment correctly; the latter covering factors such as the use of appropriate algorithms and how hashes are used and stored.

Providing confidence

Alex Leadbeater, chair of ETSI TC CYBER – the organisation’s technical committee on cyber security – said: “This new ETSI specification helps provide confidence around the software/machine aspects helping people write appropriate software that will be able to be used in court and will stand the test of time.

“It aims to provide reassurance to critical court material in a cost-effective way and saves time for those involved in the process.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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