±Forensic Focus Partners

Become an advertising partner

±Your Account


Username
Password

Forgotten password/username?

Site Members:

New Today: 3 Overall: 36632
New Yesterday: 7 Visitors: 130

±Follow Forensic Focus

Forensic Focus Facebook PageForensic Focus on TwitterForensic Focus LinkedIn GroupForensic Focus YouTube Channel

RSS feeds: News Forums Articles

±Latest Articles

±Latest Videos

±Latest Jobs

TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigators

Discussion of legislation relating to computer forensics.
Reply to topicReply to topic Printer Friendly Page
Forum FAQSearchView unanswered posts
 
  

kovar
Senior Member
 

TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigators

Post Posted: Oct 31, 07 09:08

[Anyone know what course other states are taking on this issue? Opens up a lot of questions - what if you're working for a client with offices in D.C. and in Texas? What if you're working a case that starts in IL and goes to Texas? ]

www.webwire.com/ViewPr...?aId=51580

Houston, October 30, 2007 - Any firm hiring an unlicensed computer investigator runs the risk of having all information obtained in the process invalidated. Hiring an expert witness to testify in cases involving electronically stored information, computer crimes, misuse of computers, or any other computer related violation carries the same risk.

After January 1, 2008, any company providing information not publicly available, based upon computer investigations, must be licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Private Security Board. Practicing without a license can result in a Class A Misdemeanor for the first offense, a Class 3 Felony for subsequent violations, monetary fines, and the invalidation of any information obtained by the unlicensed individual or firm.

Electronic evidence is an important element in many of today’s legal cases. Investigations into the misuse of e-mail, cell phones, internet, and many other computer-based communications and activities can be very valuable to litigation.

Corporate Human Resources departments often use the services of computer forensic examiners to determine whether or not there is just cause for terminating an employee. By assuring there is just cause for the termination, a corporation cuts its risk of being sued by a disgruntled employee.

While computer forensics is a very valuable tool for the legal and corporate communities, it is important that the entities acquiring these services protect their investment by hiring an experienced licensed firm to provide the service. Ernesto F. Rojas, President and CEO of Forensic & Security Services, Inc. announced today that his firm has met all obligations under the revised provisions of the Texas occupational code and House Bill 2833. Mr. Rojas stated that meeting these obligations enables the firm to “continue offering our services to our legal, corporate, and private clients without issues of spoliation.”

Mr. Rojas also advised, “If you are contemplating the hiring of a data collection firm, expert witness to testify with regards to the content of ESI, computer crime, or other computer enabled violation, we urge you to verify that the vendor has an active Texas license to perform these tasks.” For information about how to verify whether or not a vendor is licensed, call or e-mail Carolyn Vines-Garrison with Forensic & Security Services at (713) 893-6241 or cv @ for-sec.com.

Forensic and Security Services, Inc. is a Houston based firm offering computer forensics, data collection, and expert testimony to attorneys and corporate clients. The firm’s investigators and/or private security consultants are fully licensed by the State of Texas.  
 
  

ddow
Senior Member
 

Re: TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigators

Post Posted: Oct 31, 07 16:13

Most Texas based examiners are already licensed as the existing law already has some teeth. Don't know the details of the existing and this new law enough to know the differences.

- kovar
Anyone know what course other states are taking on this issue?

Off the top of my head there are several. GA being the most infamous, uh famous. NV was considering such a law, but don't know if it passed.

- kovar
Opens up a lot of questions - what if you're working for a client with offices in D.C. and in Texas? What if you're working a case that starts in IL and goes to Texas?

Great question. Not addressed by any state that I know of. IMHO a falicy it this class of licensing to date. I suspect the examiner could associate with a firm already licensed and be "supervised" by an already licensed examiner for that state. It opens a whole new profit center concept for some firms I'm sure. Reciprocity isn't a consideration in any of the laws I know of so having a GA license doesn't automatically help in TX.

A true can of worms.
_________________
Dennis 
 
  

PatrickMcKee
Newbie
 

Re: TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigator

Post Posted: Nov 23, 07 04:06

This site has some interesting discussion about the www.forensiclicensing....fault.aspx  
 
  

AWTLPI
Senior Member
 

Re: TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigator

Post Posted: Nov 23, 07 06:52

Wow... How did I miss this thread earlier? Embarassed

Thanks PatrickMcKee for that informative link. (Who'lda thunk there'd be a "www.forensiclicensing.com"?)

Yes, Governor Perdue vetoed HB1259 in May 2006. I was informed at the 12 November meeting of the HTCIA chapter in Atlanta, GA that there are plans to re-introduce the Bill.

In South Carolina, where I live, such a law was enacted in 2005. As is stated on our State's licensing FAQ page:,
If you accept a fee to secure or obtain [extract] information from any source, including a computer drive, with reference to the identity, habits, conduct, business, occupation, honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, efficiency, loyalty, activity, movement, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation or character of a person, or in reference to the location, disposition or recovery of stolen property, or as evidence in a criminal or civil proceeding, or before a board, an administrative agency, an officer, or investigating committee, you are required to be licensed as a private investigator in South Carolina (SC Code Section 40-18-20).


When I first learned of this, I nearly burst an artery. After about 5 seconds I realized that this law was a Good Thing. (Oh, I sense some flames rising....) Really, considering that the results of a digital forensics exam could send someone to prison or bankrupt them, I believe there MUST be some stringent regulation of our trade.

-AWT (grabbing my fire-proof suit)  
 
  

PatrickMcKee
Newbie
 

Re: TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigator

Post Posted: Nov 23, 07 22:18

Reading the California Private Investigator's Act

www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi...=7520-7539

7521, sections (b) and (e), I don't see how anyone who is not an attorney could offer independent computer forensics without a PI license. That is simply how I and my wife, who is an attorney, read the law. If you are a PAID EMPLOYEE of a law firm that might be one exception but that would not apply to contractors, sub-contractors or those soliciting clients through any type of advertisment. Similarly, if you are in an IT or security department and are a PAID EMPLOYEE doing only work related to internal investigations for that same company then that would probably be OK as well. Perhaps not well advised, but probably not covered by either the PI Act or the Private Patrol Operator's Act- reading the PPO Act I can see a little bit of wiggle room but not much in terms of investigations.

With regards to PI reciprocity, this is even more all over the map than CCW reciprocity. Sad It seems fairly clear that a PI cannot solicit clients in a state in which they are not licensed. I doubt if that matters in states that have no licensing which, at my last count, were about 7 of the 50, but who knows. I have a book on PI reciprocity but it's old and I would simply check the website of the state I was going to work in and see what their regulations are. Ideally, you'd get a written statement from the director of the department in charge of such things but I guess printing out the info on their website detailing their reciprocity policy would be good enough.

Some info is available at www.ipiu.org/forums//a.../f-31.html

Regards,

Patrick McKee  
 
  

AWTLPI
Senior Member
 

Re: TEXAS Slams The Door On Unlicensed Computer Investigator

Post Posted: Nov 24, 07 03:05

South Carolina has only limited reciprocity with North Carolina. Nothing at all with Georgia, AFAIK.

A South Carolina PI may work in North Carolina ONLY if s/he starts the case in SC. The PI may follow leads, conduct interviews, etc. into NC so long as they complete their work in NC for that particular case within 30 days.

The short list of states w/o licensing reqs include Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho. Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota. I'm surprised that Colorado *doesn't* require licensing, but North Dakota *does.*

Go figure.  
 

Page 1 of 1