Collection of Digital Evidence Sample Essay

Inspective Collection of Digital Evidence

List of People to be interviewed

  • Carol McPherson – She is the current HR Director of Provincial Worldwide Management, and she ought to have relevant information based on the exit interview of Mr. John Belcamp. She can provide information on comments, behavior, as well as a reaction during their last meeting with the former engineer.
  • Evelyn Bass – she has recently claimed to be the girlfriend to Mr. Belcamp, thus believed to have crucial information that will not only help in the investigations but also during prosecution.
  • Security guards – the guards can provide valuable information concerning the behavior, as well as the attitude of the former engineer before he left Provincial Worldwide Management. The guards will tell if they found anything suspicious while Mr. Belcamp was entering or exiting the company’s premises.
  • Colleagues – the workmates of the suspect will be questioned about his behavior before he leaves the company.
  • Neighbors and friends – neighbors and friends will provide valuable information on the character of Mr. John Belcamp to ascertain if he is capable of leaking the secrets of the company for his gains and of getting immediate employment in a rival organization.

Case Summary

The Human Resource Director, Ms. Carol McPherson, notified the stakeholders of Provincial Worldwide Management that Mr. John Belcamp had been dismissed from the employment of the company as the engineer of the company in the Division of New Product because of persistent lateness as well as absenteeism in the workplace. The director of the human resource department reported that Mr. John Belcamp had raised controversial comments on the highly profitable project that is presently being worked upon by the organization. Ms. McPherson feared that the former engineer might have carried the intellectual property of the firm with him in the quest of using it in the new employment in a competitor company. She feared that Mr. John Belcamp might have taken away the source code of the product with him for his gain, as well as a security that is aimed at earning him quick hiring. Ms. McPherson gave me a copy of the source code that he believes will help me in carrying out my duty as an information security analyst of the company.

The United States legal authority permits an information security analyst of a company to conduct a search, as well as seize anything that can provide evidence for digital crime because there is a likely cause of happening of crime, in addition to the place being well described and defined (Chang, 2018). As a result, the law permits me to carry out a search on the desk and space of Mr. Belcamp’s office for any allegedly suspicious paperwork and electronic material that has the source code content of the product or such relatable content.


Part II: Physical Evidence Acquisition

  1. 2. Potential Digital Items in Mr. Belcamp’s Workspace

Following the office workspace of Mr. Belcamp, as shown in the photo, the items that are likely to contain digital evidence are a Dell model laptop, voice recorder, a USB drive, and a digital hard drive. The investigation team is set to visit the office of the suspect and carry some of the items that they think might be helpful in one way or another in ensuring Mr. Belcamp, as well as his accomplices, are brought to book.

The laptop is Dell in terms of model, black, and approximately 30 centimeters in length. It is suspected that the laptop has power-point presentations, word documents, video, as well as audio of the processing of the new product. The laptop would give physical and digital evidence, as well as other information that might be missing in the USB drive and hard drive.

The voice recorder is small in size, as well as silver in color. It might have voice recordings of the conversations between Mr. John Belcamp and other parties, as far as the ongoing investigations are concerned, which will provide useful evidence to be used in the time of prosecution. On the other hand, the USB drive has both plastic and metallic components, with grey and black colors on adjacent ends and a small hole on one end. The former engineer of Provincial Worldwide Management might have used the USB drive to store information transferred from laptops and desktops in the form of photos, videos, as well as document files that might be useful in the investigations at hand. The USB drive might also be helpful during the prosecution, as it would provide physical and digital evidence to be used by the investigators.

To end with, the digital hard drive is irregularly shaped, black, and silver with a green label. Based on the information from the manufacturer, it can hold about one TB of data. Additionally, the hard drive is convenient to carry and can store more photos, videos, as well as large files. It is suspected that the drive was used to store data about the new product of Provincial Worldwide Management, as well as search code that provides significant evidence to be used not only during investigations but also to is used during prosecution of the suspect and accomplices if any.

Steps to the careful handling of items to avoid contamination of evidence

The custodian of evidence should take photos before picking the Western Digital Hard Drive from its place. It should be picked in chloroprene or latex-gloved hands using a pair of tongs and placing it in a zipped airtight antistatic container to safeguard the information inside it without necessarily having it distorted (Meshram & Patil, 2018). The evidence custodian should also ensure that the bag is well labeled to avoid any confusion in the forensic lab.

The laptop should be handled similarly to avoid contamination of the fingerprints already present. The latex-gloved custodian evidence should carefully disconnect it from the external power source, switch it off, put it in an antistatic bag, label it appropriately, and place it in an evidence container considering all measures of care. All items should be recorded in an evidence book, and the suspect made to sign to avoid claims later that some of his items were lost during the search (Lillis, Becker, O’Sullivan & Scanlon, 2016).

  1. Items of non-digital evidence

The yellow, square sticky notes stuck on the shelves, as well as on the desktop might continue useful information such as reminders of events or meetings linked to the search code and new product of Provincial Worldwide Management that might have been recorded by Mr. John Belcamp, the main suspect in the ongoing investigation. Sticky notes are mostly used to write information for reminding an individual on a significant event or a meeting that he or she has to attend on a stipulated date. As a result, the investigation team aims at carrying out a scrutiny check on the sticky notes to know the meetings, as well as events that the suspect has been attending to and probably ascertain the agenda of such encounters. The sticky notes are believed they would help in the provision of real evidence both in the investigation period and during the prosecution of the suspect. The papers on the workspace of the suspect might be handwritten or typed with structures, sketches, and information of the search code and new product of the company written by the suspect.

On the office worktable of Mr. Belcamp, there is a white notebook with a blue logo on the left-hand side of the pages that might contain written information just as the other paper works in regards to the search code and new product of the company at hand. Notebooks, just like sticky notes, are used in recording important information on appointments, as well as meetings that an individual is supposed to attend. Sometimes people write the list of appointments in the book. In our case, the investigators want to establish the pending, as well as past appointments that Mr. Belcamp has been attending to and, if likely, ascertain their agendas. The book can provide real evidence in the investigations, as well as during prosecution. To end with, on the table, there is a white stapler with a stainless steel rim that might contain fingerprints that would help in the provision of supplementary proof that would back up the allegations against Mr. John Belcamp.

 Steps of collecting the items to mitigate the loss of evidence

To begin with, the custodian of the items stored to provide evidence should take photographs of the paper documents, as well as sticky notes on the workspace of the suspect before physically handling them. Taking pictures helps in preventing the alteration of evidence that might take place due to the mix up of fingerprints (Pak & Lee, 2018). Next, those involved in the investigations should not use bare hands when handling items to be used as evidence. Instead, they should use latex-gloved bags that should be appropriately zipped for security reasons.

Each item should be put in its bag for easier forensic retrieval, as well as the description. Moreover, the evidence items should be placed in appropriate containers ready to be transported to a forensic laboratory for further scrutiny. The items ought to be labeled appropriately to avoid confusion when they are transported to forensic science laboratories. The custodians of the evidence have to ensure that all items are put in evidence book. The owner of the items should also be made to sign the list of items to avoid claiming later that some of his things were lost during the search (Li, Bajramovic, Gao & Parekh, 2016)

  1. Security procedures and environmental considerations for the storage of evidence


(i) All the evidence both in non-digital and digital should be put in envelopes, papers, as well as antistatic containers for items such as a laptop. Plastic containers should not be used in storing the items. Research has revealed that plastic containers produce latent heat that allows both condensation and humidity, which might interfere with the evidence at the end of the day. Digital evidence items should be kept in places that have no extreme moisture, pressure, as well as temperature (Chang, 2018).

(ii) Items containing digital evidence should be placed away from magnetic fields for safeguarding the information that might ultimately be altered by those fields (Li, Bajramovic, Gao & Parekh, 2016).

(iii) Digital evidence should be packed in a manner that will safeguard the items from any form of deformation (Lillis, Becker, O’Sullivan & Scanlon, 2016). The packaging container should also be counterchecked for their security, as far as keeping information is concerned.

(iv) All evidence has to be labeled appropriately for security reasons; their names, location, as well as time for collection (Pak & Lee, 2018). All the items have to be recorded in the checklist for future reference and to ensure that they are not tampered with for safeguarding the evidence.

(v) The evidence should be put in black and white in the inventory records per the policies of the agency and a chain of custody maintained for the items that have been removed from the area of storage (Meshram & Patil, 2018).

  1. The forensic examiner at Provincial Worldwide Management made a commendable attempt in the description of the digital materials that were collected to be used as evidence in the case against Mr. John Belcamp. Stephen’s description involves most of the unique features of the items. On the other hand, the voice recorder is scantly described. He should have incorporated the estimates of its measurements to give precise details of its descriptions, as far as size is concerned. The voice recorder has dark coloring, another description that was omitted in the statement, which might lead to ambiguity in a case there is a mix up of another voice recorder in the room. Additionally, he ought to have indicated a precise location, as well as to label them properly to avoid confusion.

It was also noted that some of the seized items were not in the evidence book, which should contain the list of all things taken to the forensic science laboratory for further scrutiny. The law requires recording of all things that have been taken from the suspect. The items should also be appropriately labeled to make it easy for those working in the lab and to avoid being mixed up with similar items that might be stored in the same location as the evidence items.


Chang, C. H. (2018). New Development Regarding Search Warrants under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution–Jones, Jardines & Grady. Euramerica, 48(2), 267-333.

Li, J., Bajramovic, E., Gao, Y., & Parekh, M. (2016). Graded security forensics readiness of SCADA systems. Informatik 2016.

Lillis, D., Becker, B., O’Sullivan, T., & Scanlon, M. (2016). Current challenges and future research areas for digital forensic investigation. arXiv preprint arXiv:1604.03850.

Meshram, B. B., & Patil, D. N. (2018). Digital Forensic Analysis of Hard Disk for Evidence Collection. International Journal of Cyber-Security and Digital Forensics (IJCSDF), 7(2), 100-110.

Pak, C. U., & Lee, S. J. (2018). Digital Evidence Collection Procedure for Hardware Unique Information Collection. Journal of the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology, 28(4), 839-845.

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