n South African Computer Journal - Digital forensic science : a manifesto - : viewpoint

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



Most members of the public probably had a rather vague notion of forensic science until various TV shows - starting with CSI - carried an image of a forensic utopia into our living rooms on a weekly basis. In general we were impressed - to the extent that jurisdictions where juries are used had to deal with the so-called new CSI-effect: Juries wanted the detailed and authoritative evidence they got used to in their favourite shows in order to make what should have been simple decisions during their deliberations. Unfortunately, the reality did not match these expectations. While many reports suggested that much of the forensic science on these shows was in principle realistic (apart from the speed at which test results became available) the computer scientists (and some technically inclined computer users) amongst us were usually not impressed when digital evidence needed to be recovered. The ability to type a command or two to trace the exact physical location from which some message was received was often beyond what we could accept as sciencefiction.

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