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NW3C Spotlighted Training: Legal Concerns for Digital Evidence Responders

by NW3C Staff  -   June 3, 2014
digital evidence

NW3C is pleased to offer a new series of courses, titled Legal Concerns for Digital Evidence Responders. A student completing all seven modules in the series will be well versed in legal issues associated with digital evidence, including the Fourth Amendment, search warrants, recent case law and more.

The 101 module went live in January, the 301 section commenced in March, and the remaining five launched on April 18.* They include a mix of instructional content and interactive case studies. After learning key concepts, the students put their knowledge to work by “investigating” a case involving digital evidence.

Students may choose to take the courses sequentially, completing the entire series, or they may choose to take only the module(s) most relevant to them. The 101 class lays the foundation for the remaining modules in the series. Each section builds on information in earlier classes but also focuses on specific areas of concern. Topics are as follows:

  • 101: First Responders and Digital Evidence
    101 trains first responders to recognize and preserve digital evidence so specialists may handle it later.
  • 201: Search Warrants and Digital Evidence
    201 covers how traditional warrant concepts, such as probable cause, particularity, scope, timeliness and nexus, apply when dealing with computers and electronic evidence. It looks at execution issues, drafting tips, practical considerations, applicable federal statutes and ways to submit a search warrant to an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • 301: Searching without a Warrant
    301 examines the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable governmental searches and how they apply to digital evidence. It discusses the plain view doctrine and the third party doctrine. It also examines consent searches, disputed consent and searching of schools and workplaces.
  • 401: The Stored Communications Act
    401 takes students through the Stored Communication Act section by section, explaining how to use it to obtain both transactional and content information through appropriate legal process. It includes a practical section on common mistakes made in such requests and how to avoid them.
  • 501: Online Undercover
    501 includes discussions of wiretapping, entrapment and common defenses offered for online criminality.
  • 601: Post-Seizure Evidentiary Concerns
    601 focuses on how to handle seized evidence. Training includes ways to link suspects to evidence and how to ensure that evidence is permissible at trial.
  • 701: Mobile Digital Devices and GPS
    701 looks at issues specific to cell phones and GPS units.

Even though Legal Concerns for Digital Evidence Responders has only been active online for a short time, students are responding with enthusiasm. Comments include:

“What I like most about this course is the law was clearly explained and understandable. The course material was right on point and great.”

“This information was useful for potential legal issues that I am likely to run into in court as an investigator. The class was easily navigated and the information was presented in a non complicated manner.”

“This was a very interesting WB Tutorial. Please Please Please continue to include the walk-through examples with scenarios and questions. I found the scenarios very helpful.”

“I enjoyed solving the case and making decisions. It really helped to reinforce what was being learned”

Legal Concerns for Digital Evidence Responders is part of a growing list of classes offered online by NW3C. These classes cover a wide range of topics, from human trafficking to encryption. All of NW3C’s online classes are free to law enforcement personnel. To view the full list and to register, please visit our online training page.  

* NW3C would like to thank the following subject matter experts for their contributions to these courses: Stephen Treglia, Legal Counsel at Absolute Software; Christopher Kelly, Assistant Attorney General of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Cybercrime Division; Justin Fitzimmons, Senior Attorney, National District Attorneys Association; Abigail Abraham, Assistant General Counsel at AOL; and Don Mason, Associate Director of the National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law.

Photo credits: 129311069 Copyright Ivana Stana, 2014 Used under license from Shutterstock.com

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