Computer forensics is a growing field in criminology. It affects other disciplines, as well, most notably the legal system. Students interested in computer forensics can construct a thesis that explores the subject and its relationship to evolving aspects of criminology and the legal system. A multidiscipline topic will also help to further define computer forensics in society.
The Fourth Amendment
One idea for a research topic in computer forensics is the relationship of the field to the fourth amendment, which deals with unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendment deals specifically with physical spaces, property and homes. Discuss how searches of computers relates and the way in which courts deal with search and seizure tactics and issues relating to computers, and information stored on them, when they are considered personal property. One important aspect of this topic will examine how modern technology and a long-standing amendment should bend to each other in a new, digital world.
Now that digital evidence and computer forensics processes are becoming more frequent in civil and criminal cases, it is important to examine how they fit into current legal and investigative processes. In a thesis, form an argument as to how the law of criminal or civil procedures should change in response to the increasing number of cases involving digital information. Topics to look into include computer versus physical investigations, surveillance and wiretapping, and how digital evidence fits into legal rules based solely on physical evidence.
Steganography is the art and science of hiding messages from view. It is a concern for computer forensics examiners in that many techniques involve hiding bits of digital information inside everything from audio files to word documents. Construct a thesis that explores the need for computer forensic experts to focus more strongly on digital steganography. Explore how it has been involved in computer crimes of the past and the amount of training in the subject that computer forensics experts go through today.
A major topic in criminal investigations that mixes psychology with criminology is criminal profiling. Profiling often helps investigators find people who have committed crimes. In computer forensics, the nature of crimes is not so well defined and, because much of what is handled is digital or electronic, often more obscure. In a thesis, discuss how the criminal profiling process differs in computer-related criminal investigations, and suggest ways in which it might best serve investigators to profile based on electronic or digital evidence.
- "Harvard Law Review"; Searches and Seizures in a Digital World; Orin Kerr; December 2005
- "Columbia Law Review"; Digital Evidence and the New Criminal Procedure; Orin Kerr; January 2005
- "Champlain College"; An Overview of Steganography for the Computer Forensics Examiner; Gary Kessler; 2004
- "Computers & Security"; The Role of Criminal Profiling in the Computer Forensics Process"; Marc Rogers; June 2003
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