Digital forensics is a rapidly growing field of forensic science as our dependence on computers, mobile phones and other digital devices increases. More and more data is stored in these devices, and this data is increasingly used in criminal cases - but for complete admissibility in court, it needs to be forensically acquired and analysed. This includes deleted data, and data invisible under normal circumstances to the average user. Our digital forensic experts have considerable (prosecution and defence) experience in working with not just the most common digital devices, but obscure makes and models. Backed up by a dedicated research and development team, the vast majority of devices can be analysed in a forensically sound, security vetted environment.
Computer-based evidence is becoming a major part of a wide range of investigations – including indecent image cases, serious organised fraud, murder and others. The data stored on the computer can include internet history, chat logs, email trails, documents and other elements vital in the case – in fact, any activity performed on that computer (or laptop or tablet) has the potential to leave a forensic trail. Following ACPO guidelines, our computer forensic experts can acquire this data (a process known as forensic imaging), before analysing its content in the most cost efficient manner to meet your requirements. Client contact is maintained throughout, and all our experts are regularly trained in giving evidence in court if required. On-site work can also be carried out, where appropriate.
The mobile phone is, undoubtedly, such an ingrained communication tool that it can, to some extent, be thought of as an extension to a person’s mind. It contains details of their friends, contacts, messages, photographs, internet history and more. This data, when forensically extracted can play a pivotal role in piecing together various elements of your investigation – and with a large number of smartphones now in circulation, a person’s social media history can yield data including their geographical movements, associations, messages and chat. As with computer forensics, this needs to be forensically acquired and analysed to ACPO guidelines – and our experts have decades of combined experience in dealing with mobile phone-based evidence.
Cell site analysis
Using data from mobile phone companies, our cell site experts can investigate the historic geographic movements of a phone attributed to an individual. This is because phone companies record which mobile phone mast (which has a particular coverage area) has been used and when. This has traditionally been used by prosecution agencies in large scale crimes (murder, rape, kidnap etc) but is also increasingly being used proactively by defence lawyers to validate the geographical movement of their clients at, or around, the time of a crime. Cell site analysis is a complex field of forensic science, and our experts are some of the leaders in their field. Each case starts with a conference to ensure the most appropriate level of analysis is carried out for that particular case. Where appropriate, surveys can be undertaken using portable (hand held and vehicle mounted) equipment to analyse the coverage of relevant mobile phone mast, and determine where the phone was, or was not, likely to have been.
Like computer and mobile phone forensics, SatNav forensics involves the acquisition of data from SatNav (and any other GPS) unit and its subsequent analysis. Dependent on the make, model and recent usage, our analysts can retrieve data from SatNavs including recent track logs (where the device has been), paired bluetooth devices, user-entered data, deleted data and more. Additionally, many modern phones contain a GPS functionality, so this capability is not limited simply to windscreen-mounted devices.