EVIDENCE Workshop on transfer of digital evidence

On 1st and 2nd of July, a workshop on „data protection in sharing and exchanging electronic evidence“ was hosted by the Institute for Legal Informatics in Hanover. IRI is the leader of WP8 of the EVIDENCE project, focusing on data protection issues. Consequently, the workshop aimed at identifying issues arising around the collection and exchange of electronic evidence in criminal proceedings and providing remedies. The workshop was opened by Maria Angela Biasiotti as project coordinator and Nikolaus Forgó as host.

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After that, the EVIDENCE consortium, consisting of 9 partners from 7 different countries, shortly presented the progress the EVIDENCE project has done during the last 16 month. After that, external experts from the University of Bremen, Generalstaatsanwaltschaft Celle, Eurojust, Europol and Interpol shared their experience in various presentations, a panel discussion and group discussions. The group discussions were a core component of the workshop: The participants had the chance to identify issues and rate them by pasting „EVIDENCE-dollars“ to the issues that should be addressed.

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The issues that turned out to be particularly important were then discussed during a second phase of group discussions in order to find remedies. The outcome of the workshop will be used for the further progress of the EVIDENCE project.

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About the EVIDENCE project

All legal proceedings rely on the production of evidence in order to take place. Electronic evidence is no different from traditional evidence in that it is necessary, for the party introducing it into legal proceedings, to be able to demonstrate that it is no more and no less than it was, when it came into their possession. In other words, no changes, deletions, additions or other alterations have taken place. The very nature of data and information held in electronic form makes it easier to manipulate than traditional forms of data. When acquired and exchanged, the integrity of the information must be maintained and proved.

Legislation on criminal procedures in many European countries was enacted before these technologies appeared, thus taking no account of them and creating a scenario where criteria are different, uncertain, regulations are not harmonized and aligned and therefore exchange among EU Member States jurisdictions and at the transnational level is very hard to realize. What is missing is a Common European Framework to guide policy makers, law enforcement agencies and judges when dealing with digital evidence treatment and exchange.

EVIDENCE aims at providing a road map (guidelines, recommendations, technical standards) for realisingthe missing Common European Framework for the systematic and uniform application of new technologiesin the collection, use and exchange of evidence. This road map incorporating standardized solutions wouldenable policy maker to realize an efficient regulation, treatment and exchange of digital evidence, LEAs as wellas judges/magistrates and prosecutors and lawyers practising in the criminal field to have at their disposal aslegal/technological background a Common European Framework allowing them to gather, use and exchangedigital evidences according to common standards and rules.EVIDENCE activities will enable the implementation of a stable network of experts in digital forensics communicating and exchanging their opinions.

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