1: What do you see as the role of Language and Culture in a digital forensics environment? What is more important, an understanding of foreign language or an understanding of culture?

There is no doubt that the world is increasingly becoming smaller through the process of internationalization that has been facilitated by ease of connectivity. In this regard, Clarke, (2010) points out that cultural and language implications, together with the ability of cyber criminals to be in various countries when undertaking their wrongdoings, have increased the scope of challenges for forensic investigators. It is evident that relatively few technical degree courses require one to be fluent in foreign languages and have an understanding of foreign culture, which can constrain a forensic investigation right from the beginning. According to Gogolin (2012a), foreign dialects and language posit numerous challenges for a forensic investigator with regard to understanding communication such as electronic mails, together with the extra difficulty posed by idiomatic expressions and slang. In addition, with the increase in internet use, connectivity and accessibility to digital devices, it is evident that the challenges posed by language and cultural barriers are likely to increase. Gogolin (2012a) emphasizes that the implications of culture and language on cyber security should not be taken too lightly. Newman (2007) points out that the global cybercrime issue is larger than the global drug trade problem; for instance, in Australia, identity theft takes place every 3 seconds. It is imperative to note that a cyber crime investigation process entails a relatively large number of people and groups constantly communicating, sharing information and making decisions at various boundaries and levels. Equally important are the multicultural issues involving the interaction between forensic investigators themselves and between forensic investigators and witnesses. For instance, having the ability to speak in an alien language with a criminal suspect increases the chances of success for the investigation. It is gradually becoming evident that language skills and cultural understanding may be what differentiates good forensic investigators from great forensic investigators.

Gogolin (2012a) points an understanding of culture is more important when compared to foreign language. Clarke (2010) asserts that societies are often constructed around their respective culture. As a result, understanding culture will provide the investigator with important insights when assessing digital devices. There can be numerous explanations for events, digital images and communications found in digital media. Without understanding culture, the meanings of such messages are likely to be construed. Clarke (2010) also points out that understanding culture can help an investigator know how and what an individual is thinking, and how they are likely to act or techniques that they are likely to utilize in obfuscating evidence. Clarke (2010) emphasizes that without having an understanding of culture, important clues and opportunities are likely to be overlooked.

2: What are some of the psychological implications that a forensic examiner should be aware of? What are techniques to address these implications? What is the most likely psychological aspect that would impact an examiner’s career and life away from work?

The nature of forensic investigation implies that psychological implications are rather common. The first psychological implication can be in the form of frustration, which can manifests through various ways such as a stuck investigation or the cases where the investigation clearly points out that laws were broken yet the legal justice system declines the case (Gogolin, 2012b). Second, the investigator may come across disturbing evidence that was anticipated during the investigation, which may put the investigator on shock and change the course of investigation. For instance, when an investigator comes across a child pornography material, he/she may feel the urge to help the children victims; however, there is no effective mechanism to help them (Kessler & Schirling, 2002). The third psychological implication for forensic investigators arises when the investigator is acquitted with the individual being investigated. In such a situation, the investigator is faced with the challenge of whether to pursue the case objectively or to transfer the case to another individual. In order to address these mental hurdles that they are likely to encounter during forensic investigations, coping skills are significantly required to address these implications. In most cases, forensic investigators are not supposed to talk about the case being investigated; as a result, they have the burden of ensuring that the case specifics are bottled-up for relatively long time durations. Some of the coping mechanisms include journaling, exercise routines and counseling; these plays an important role in helping the investigators spend some of the emotional energy associated with a given case and reduce stress. In addition, it is imperative for the investigator to be somewhat proactive with respect to the emotional strains and case stress levels. (Gogolin, 2012b) points that family members are less likely to understand this, which is likely to compound the situation both at work and at home. Therefore, being alert of the forthcoming issues is the first step to ensuring that they are managed effectively.


Clarke, N. (2010). Computer Forensics. New york: IT Governance Ltd.

Cowen, D. (2009). Hacking Exposed Computer Forensics, Second Edition: Computer Forensics Secrets & Solutions. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.

Gogolin, G. (2012a). Introduction to Digital Forensics. CRC Press: New York.

Gogolin, G. (2012b). Digital Forensics Explained. New York: Auerbach Publications.

Kessler, G., & Schirling, M. (2002). Computer forensics: Cracking the books, cracking the case. Information Security , 4 (2), 68–81.

Newman, R. C. (2007). Computer Forensics: Evidence Collection and Management. New york: Auerbach Publications: Taylor and Francis Group.

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