COMPUTER AND LAWS; You are systems manager for a small company with 15 employees that provides forensic computing services, which include forensic investigation, data recovery for commercial organisations and the public, electronic discovery for businesses and consultancy for local solicitors Research Paper

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You are systems manager for a small company with 15 employees that provides forensic computing services, which include forensic investigation, data recovery for commercial organisations and the public, electronic discovery for businesses and consultancy for local solicitors. A technician manages your two separate IT systems each having its own local area network and file-servers. One system stores and processes all the material relating to forensic investigations. The other system provides the information system required to run the business. She also remotely administers the cloud-based server that hosts your Web-site.

You have developed a long-term relationship with a local University, working closely with a member of staff to support placement students.

Consider the following hypothetical situations. You appreciate the importance of seeking professional legal advice, but you like to form your own opinion first to help you understand and review the advice you receive from your solicitor.

1. The Web Site
Because of the economic downturn, which has affected all IT-related work, you want to attract clients for the data recovery side of your business by developing a website that will provide relevant technical information, contact information, a discussion group allowing registered users to discuss problems, and allow them to estimate the charge for recovering information. After registered users have posted a disk to you, they can use the site to access a quote, give permission to proceed with recovery and check a list of files and folders before paying for the recovery after which the results will be sent to them. Your technical staff will contribute to a blog explaining relevant issues and will monitor the discussion group and provide advice. You are aware that a competitor may be launching a similar site so you believe it is commercially essential that the site will be operational by the cyberforensics conference in four months time.

It is essential that the site provides an attractive user interface. You want it to allow users to tailor the view that is presented to them (e.g. by identifying topic areas to be displayed when they visit the home page). You believe that technology such as Google App Engine, which is a cloud-based server for web applications, cookies, and AJAX are likely to be used to create an interactive, flexible, online user interface.

A past placement student, who has returned to the local university, has said he will develop the web site as his project, which will be submitted just after the forensic conference. You have also considered using a web services development company that you have found on the Web. However, since you are not happy with their standard terms and conditions, you are planning to use a local freelance web developer.

a. Discuss the legal issues that are relevant to the quality of the Website delivered by the developer and to protecting your company from problems. You should take a broad view of quality, which would include, for example, the accidental release of personal details because of inadequate security being built into the site and not just the appearance of the site. You will need to explain the key issues and relate them to this situation.
30 Marks

Assessment Criteria
A summary of relevant statute and case law
? Identification of important issues and law that is relevant to the relationship with the developer and the site you want them to create
? Awareness of relevant cases and contentious issues
? Quality of summary: express key issues clearly but avoid excessive detail
? Appropriate use of relevant references in text and at the end of the answer
20 marks

Discussion of the implications of the legal issues for this situation, including an assessment of any differences that could arise if you used the web services development company rather than the freelance developer
? Ability to relate statute and case law to this situation
? Identification of potential problems and how they can be handled
? Justification of the points made
10 marks

b. Plan the negotiation that you will have with the web developer before you agree that they can do the work. In your plan, identify issues (e.g. price) to discuss and outline how you will approach the negotiation, which may include preparation, discussion of your initial position and what you will consider when deciding how flexible to be during the negotiation. Justify your approach, and where possible give examples and discuss alternatives
20 Marks

Assessment Criteria
Overall, I am looking for a commercially realistic approach and targets that will result in an effective website and will protect your organisation from problems relating to the website.
Appropriate issues identified with initial position 10 marks
The range of issues, the coverage of the issues that need to be dealt with before the developer starts work on the project.
Realistic initial position
Explanation, with examples and justification, of how you will approach the negotiation
Sensible negotiating approach
Appropriate ideas for preparation
Quality of your discussion of your approach and alternatives
4 marks will be given for properly integrated examples
10 marks

2. The invention
You design an electronic device and associated software that can connect a mobile phone to a computer to allow the capture of data for forensic analysis. You have worked with a company technician to develop the prototype. He has now left the company and is working for a competitor. You will be seeking a loan from a bank or private investor to commercialise the device.

Discuss how the law can help protect your invention.
20 Marks

Assessment Criteria
Long-term protection of hardware and software 10 marks
Issues relating to discussions with bank or private investor 5 marks
Issues relating to the technician who is working at a competitor 5 marks

3. Crime & the Court
While recovering data from a crashed hard disk belonging to a famous pop star, your company have discovered what appear to be indecent images of children in the Internet cache. On the disk, there are also several files apparently containing random data. There is evidence that Truecrypt ( is installed on the pop star’s computer. Truecrypt claims to provide “plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password: hidden volume (steganography)”. In other words, if you decrypt an encrypted file with one password it will return one set of files, if you use a different password it will return another set of files. The investigating officer believes that the indecent images have been constructed from images that are themselves legal. The investigating officer believes that at least one of the random files contains a list of suppliers of indecent images.

a. Summarise the legal issues relevant to this situation.
15 Marks
Assessment Criteria
A summary of relevant statute and case law
? Identification of appropriate issues and appropriate law
? Quality of summary
? Appropriate references in text and at the end of the answer
10 marks
? Ability to relate the law to the given situation
5 marks

Because of her research into cryptography, a lecturer has been approached to be an expert witness in separate civil and criminal cases. She has worked with you previously, and has asked you for advice to help her decide whether to take the role.

b. Advise her on the role of the expert witness and any potential problems such as defamation or negligence that might arise from the expert’s evidence.
15 Marks
Assessment Criteria
A summary of the role of the expert witness 10 marks
? In preparation for court
? In court
This should include examples from referenced cases to help her understand the relevant problems and issues.
Discussion of issues relating to liability arising from evidence given by the expert witness 5 marks
Credit will be given for appropriate references in text and at the end of the answer.

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