Los Angeles, California (January 14, 2014) – Coded text messages and documents detailing an elaborate doping scheme were reportedly recovered and ultimately became the crucial evidence needed by Major League Baseball in the case against the Yankees Alex Rodriguez.
“Merely testifying that a paper document is authentic just isn’t enough anymore”, says Digital Forensic Examiner Mark McLaughlin of Computer Forensics International. “That’s why we’re brought into all types of cases where digital evidence may be found”, he added.
Today, nearly all the world’s information was initially created from a digital device. Plus it’s widely understood that by using Word or Photoshop, you can easily make anything look authentic. So unless you’ve verified the source, the authenticity of printouts as evidence are always questionable. That’s why Digital Forensic Examiners establish a verifiable chain of custody to prove what you’re looking at, is an exact representation of the original.
Examiners like McLaughlin, routinely use cutting edge software tools like EnCase and Lantern when analyzing computers and cellphones on civil and criminal cases. They start by making an exact forensic copy of the entire device – which includes active and deleted data.
Then just the copy is searched, either visually or by using keywords for relevant hits. And those searches can produce tens of thousands of hits that all must be manually reviewed. “That may seem daunting, but considering the alternative, it’s a walk in the park”, adds McLaughlin.
Over the last 17 years, McLaughlin has handled over 500 cases and examined over 2,000 digital items. He testifies in court as an expert and even trains attorneys on how to enhance their cases through digital evidence. McLaughlin says, “I really enjoy the sleuthing part of what we do. Because when we find that smokin’ gun, it’s pretty much game over”.