|Type of paper:
|Criminal law Security Cyber security
Criminals have always made use of technological advances. The advent of telephones and computers lead to a generation of new types of crimes. Computer crimes have a variety of offenses. Some offenses are the same as those of non-computer such as fraud or larceny but differ in that a computer gets applied in the commission of offenses. Cyberbullying is the most common computer crime, and the victims are encouraged to report to the law enforcers. With the increasing cases of cyber-crime, investigating malicious activity is crucial to protect citizens' privacy and preserve online operations. The legislation at the state and federal level provide computer crime prosecution (Bell, 2002). The federal agency operates to ensure all the laws and processes get followed. The study is thus limited to identifying the proper procedures that forensic investigators should follow to detect identity theft and identify the accepted guidelines as per the fourth and first amendments.
There are five steps that forensic investigators follow while conducting investigations related to computer crime and identity theft. The first step involves the procedure and policy development. Digital evidence is highly sensitive and delicate, whether pertaining to criminal conspiracy, identity theft, or other computer crime. It is for this reason that it is vital to follow procedures and establish strict guidelines. Some procedures include how to properly document evidence data and when the investigators are permitted to recover digital evidence, among others.
The second step is an evidence assessment. For effective processing, the examiner needs to have a clear understanding of the crime at hand. For example, investigators need to use advanced methods to filter through networking sites, emails, and hard drives while investigating an identity theft crime. The third step involves evidence acquisition. The evidence needs to be preserved and recorded, especially when the court is involved. The fourth step involves evidence examination. For an effective evidence investigation, copying, retrieving, and storing procedures must get availed to the examiner. Last but not least, there is the reporting and documenting step. The evidence relating to the crime must be recorded in clearly designated archives to ensure all the procedures and policies get adhered to.
There are various actions or processes applied while proving an identity theft case. The authentication process is one of them. The process gets well described using two phases, i.e., the actual and identification authentication. The authentication method involves using individual unique information such as biometrics, PINS, passwords, addresses, social security numbers, or even names (Petrillo, 2006). The required process of authentication varies with the appreciation extent provided by the risk perpetrator.
The first recommended authentication procedure is the use of biometrics to help track identity theft. Biometrics refers to the application of unique body parts to verify the identity of a person. It also refers to the use of documented and known user’s physical attributes to authenticate an individual identity (Petrillo, 2006). The method is quite ideal since no two people have the same attributes. The investigators' most common biometric authentication procedures include the use of iris and retinal scans, facial recognition and scanning, voice recognition, and fingerprint identification.
The procedure makes use of specialized equipment for scanning. The use of biometrics to identify the identity thief is applicable in cases where the individual’s fingerprint and face are present in a computer database. However, the database is limited to the convicted individual(s), and thus any other identity thief who gets not recognized as a criminal gets not detected (Petrillo, 2006). There are other acceptable methods for identifying an identity thief, including the use of social security numbers; they can also make use of the passport data and international fraud and criminal database, among others.
The other recommended method is the use of transaction authentication. The method tries to look for reasonable mistakes when collating users known data with the information derived from a current transaction. An excellent example of this is when a person lives in the U.S., and large purchases get witnessed overseas using the individual IP address (Petrillo, 2006). The investigators authenticate such an issue by first setting up a red flag and demanding extra verification steps to ensure that the user is not one of the computer crime victims and that the purchase is legit.
Chain of Custody Techniques
The investigators use a process called the chain of custody to document and maintain the evidence obtained from their investigation. The method identifies the individual that handled, collected, analyzed, or transferred proof in an investigation process. In any investigation process, evidence play a crucial role. Evidence can get used to identifying the perpetrator or the victim. Digital evidence is quite fragile and volatile and thus needs proper handling and storing to ensure it gets not altered. Chain of custody gets recorded to ensure that the evidence provided is related to the crime (Cosic & Baca, 2010). The conditions involved in the evidence collection should get documented, the information of all the evidence handlers and security conditions applied while storing and handling the evidence. Chain of custody span from the time the evidence is collected to examination, to analysis, to reporting up to the time the evidence gets presented at the court.
An excellent example of a chain of custody is in the email data and identities. The investigator collects information from the email header, which gets thought to hold crucial details of the email. Server information should also be retrieved, the network device should get investigated, the software embedded should get analyzed, and sender fingerprints this include the software used by the sender (Cosic & Baca, 2010). They also use email trackers, analyzes the volatile memory and the attachments. The collected information gets thus stored in a unique folder awaiting court.
Another technique for documenting digital evidence is by first identifying the digital media used. Forensic duplication gets performed by the original media. The data is duplicated immediately to get the best evidence. It gets then labeled and stored securely in an evidence locker. A duplicate of the evidence gets then used for forensic analysis and necessary copies made (Cosic & Baca, 2010). A back up for the evidence gets obtained for court presentation.
Guidelines of the First and Fourth Amendments
The first and fourth amendments in the United States constitution offer citizens protection from seizures and unreasonable searches. However, most of the techniques investigators use to fight identity theft conflict (Donovan, 1984). The investigators' techniques and methods to conduct surveillance and access personal information from computers, email, and cell phones are, at times, illegal. The techniques violate an individual's right to privacy.
According to the 1st amendment, every individual is allowed to make their judgment after viewing an issue from all parties (Donovan, 1984). However, the investigators of an identity theft case act in line with the amendment guideline since they try to establish evidence from the evidence they obtain. It is legal for them to protect an individual's privacy from online hackers. However, while retrieving the information, they tend to expose every detail no mater its sensitivity. They fail to do censorship, which is legal according to the first amendment.
Censorship is when information and ideas get suppressed. The info gets suppressed when it gets thought to be dangerous or objectionable. The censors try to use the state's power to establish their objections of what seems appropriate and truthful. The information deemed as been inappropriate or dangerous to the public is deleted and eliminated, denying the public the right to judge for themselves (Donovan, 1984). The public gets denied their freedom to information. The investigators of the identity theft thus operate as per the amendment guidelines since no information should get hidden from the public.
The 1st amendment also calls for an investigative agency to collect only the public's relevant information and use transparent and open methods while getting the information. The materials obtained for evidence should be publicly available sources, which does not invade any individual privacy (Donovan, 1984). However, the investigators try to get all information from their parties of the investigation; thus, they tend to go further to using unauthorized methods like hacking an individual's conversation to get information.
Regarding the fourth amendment, an individual should get notified of any investigation. Information should not get retried from them without their consent. At times the investigators begin performing an individual investigation without their knowledge. They invade their privacy by accessing their personal information without notifying them (Donovan, 1984). The investigators even go further to acquiring evidence from the employer’s side, which again risks the company’s information and violates the privacy rule.
From the above illustration, it is evident that computer crime has been on the rise due to advancements in technology. Investigators are thus applying various techniques like the use of biometrics to access the individual’s identity. However, the techniques they have been applying have been seen to violate an individual right to privacy. Thus, some of the methods have gotten said to be illegal since they deny personal freedom to information.
Bell, R. E. (2002). The prosecution of computer crime. Journal of financial crime, 9(4), 308-325. http://188.8.131.52/faculty/warkentin/SecurityPapers/Robert/Others/Bell2002_JFC9_4_Computer
Crime.pdfCosic, J., & Baca, M. (2010). A Framework to (I'm) Prove" Chain of Custody" in Digital Investigation Process. In Central European Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems (p. 435). Faculty of Organization and Informatics Varazdin. http://www.academia.edu/download/38653381/363-944-1-PB_5.pdf
Donovan, D. A. (1984). Informers Revisited: Government Surveillance of Domestic Political Organizations and the Fourth and First Amendments. Buff. L. Rev., 33, 333. https://digitalcommons.law.buffalo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1728&context=buffalolawreview
Petrillo, S. (2006). U.S. Patent Application No. 11/165,966. https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/51/d5/4a/0980d65dfaf74b/US20060239512A1.pdf
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