Halfway through the EVIDENCE project: Status Quo Workshop held in Sofia

A little more than one and a half years after the EVIDENCE Kick-off meeting, preliminary findings of four project Work Packages have been presented and discussed at a Status Quo Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria on 20 and 21 October 2015.
As the leader of Work Package 8 ‘Data Protection Issues’, the Institute for Legal Informatics presented “Data Protection Issues in Gathering, Sharing and Exchanging of Electronic Evidence”, summarizing results of a Report on Data Protection Issues in Gathering and Using of Electronic Evidence that had been delivered in spring 2015, and of a workshop focusing on the transfer of electronic evidence that had taken place in July 2015.
Other sessions of the workshop were dedicated to Legal Issues, Standard Issues and Law Enforcement Issues. In addition to the consortium members, external experts contributed to the workshop by giving a speech or by participating in a panel. The presentations were each followed by lively open discussions in which external stakeholders present at the event shared their practical experiences and knowledge with the project consortium.
The workshop was concluded by a group discussions session focusing on further development and action towards a Road Map to a common European Framework on electronic evidence that is going to be the final outcome of the project.

About the EVIDENCE project

Thanks to technological advances in information gathering, law enforcement agencies are able nowadays to obtain evidence, when carrying out criminal investigations, in very effective ways that were impossible a few years ago. However, legislations on criminal procedures in many European countries were enacted before these technologies appeared, thus taking no account of them. A specific framework of standards, guidelines and recommendations is needed.
The EVIDENCE project offers a multidisciplinary approach for identification, definition, assessment and articulation of the whole set of actions that should be carried out in a coherent framework, including the following aspects:
• Comparative analysis of existing legal provisions which apply in these cases and their impact;
• Identification and specification of those legislative changes that should be promoted at both European and Member State level;
• Definition of open/widely available standards, assuring not only the international transfer of evidence but also the chain-of-custody requirements and the protection of the means of proof, keeping in mind the ethical and privacy aspects;
• Identification of operational and ethical implications for law enforcement agencies;                  • Identification of technical developments that should be carried out to sustain all these aspects.

Following this research agenda the EVIDENCE project aims at developing a Road Map (guidelines, recommendations, technical standards, etc.) for realising the missing Common European Framework for the systematic, aligned and uniform application of new technologies in the collection, use and exchange of evidence.

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