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What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Discussion of legislation relating to computer forensics.
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arashiryu
Senior Member
 

What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Post Posted: Aug 02, 05 08:33

What if a forensic examiner encounters CP while he/she is conducting an examination for adult porn at a private company? If the owner gives the permission to proceed regardless, should the examiner proceed or contact law enforcement?

I think the forensic examiner should contact law enforcement and let them know, of the findings. Then ask law enforcement's permission to continue the examination to complete it. Also offer to drop off evidence (image etc) at the station as well. Then complete the examination.

Your thoughts?  

Last edited by arashiryu on Aug 02, 05 20:05; edited 4 times in total
 
  

schlecht
Member
 

Re: What if private forensic examiner encounters child porn?

Post Posted: Aug 02, 05 08:43

In the US, it is required that when you find CP, you immediately report it to the authorities. This is where your rolodex should be stacked with contacts. Normally, if you can promise the evidence be presented within a reasonable time, they will allow you to proceed to get the evidence to them. Therefore, you can finish your case.
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schlecht 
 
  

schlecht
Member
 

Re: What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Post Posted: Aug 02, 05 21:35

Current laws put the fate of those that innocently handle child porn at the mercy of prosecutorial discretion. It is illegal to posess child porn. Possession on behalf of a client for an investigation is no different. If, upon finding child porn you make contact with authorities and are cleared to continue - you have at least given yourself some level confidence if prosecuted in a "innocent handling defense".
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schlecht 
 
  

arashiryu
Senior Member
 

Re: What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Post Posted: Aug 02, 05 22:53

Schlecht,
Thank you for your input. Much appreciated.  
 
  

Jimmer
Member
 

Re: What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Post Posted: Dec 31, 05 19:35

Speaking strictly from a law enforcement point of view. If you find CP while conducting a private examine, you should immediately stop and contact the local law enforcement, showing them what you found. At that time the Law enforcement will most likely seize the machine from you, obtain a search warrant and view and collect the contents of the drive themselves. If they simply acknowledge that they are aware of the CP and allow you to continue the examine, the defendant may try to argue that the search was warrantless and you were acting as an agent of law enforcement. True the owner of the drive has given you and may in fact give the law enforcement the same permission to examine the drive. However, ANY question of the legality of searching the drive can be answered and addressed with the obtaining of a warrant. One other thing to keep in mind. While the company you are dealing with may very well allow you to look for porn, they may become concerned if your search starts to look into other areas such as financial etc. A search warrant is going to allow the law enforcement to view, albeit very briefly, every file on the drive to determine if CP is present or not. Some companies may balk at having their private business run through in such a manner.  
 
  

armresl
Senior Member
 

Re: What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Post Posted: Dec 31, 05 22:39

Would the people who say that you have to stop and report the images to the authorities please post a link to the law you are referring to.
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Jimmer
Member
 

Re: What if private forensic examiner encounters CP?

Post Posted: Jan 01, 06 03:56

I am not aware of any particular law, at least in the area I work in, that states that you have to report any particular crime. The reporting of any crime or evidence of a crime is simply a civic duty. The problem with child porn is just possessing it is a crime in itself. By notifing the law enforcement of what you have found, you are distancing yourself from it and removing the possibility of prosecution. Should you be caught with them how would you explain them? How can someone in law enforcement determine who is possessing them for "legal" reasons and who is possessing them for personal use? Lets say for example, you find child porn on a hard drive. In your effort to be efficent you print copies of the images for your records and reports to show your client. However on the way home your involved in an accident and an alert police officer finds them in your car. How would you explain it? Possession of child porn is such an issue that law enforcement, local, state and federal agency have certain reporting guidelines that require officers working child porn cases to notify their supervisors, so that their personal possession and that in the line of duty is clearly defined. Reporting it is simply a matter of protecting you as well as the interests of your client.  
 

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