Student discussion 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?
With the onset of globalization, there is no doubt that language and culture play an integral role on facilitating forensic investigation. Having and understanding of culture and being proficient in language skills can be argued to be a critical success factor for forensic investigators (Kessler & Schirling, 2002). The focus of Brian’s discussion relates to the culture of the internet, facilitated with an increase in the global presence of technology, which has increased interactions between people; this implies that culture is at the heart of these interactions between people and information exchange. Nevertheless, Brian’s discussion is narrow and only places emphasis on how culture relates to the aspects of technology; for instance, culture determines the search engine habits, and the patterns and amount of internet usage. In addition, Brian’s discussion has highlighted the role of language in facilitating interviews with foreign individuals. The discussion could have adopted a broader view of cultural and language implications on culture. There is no doubt that a forensic investigation process entails many people and groups constantly communicating, sharing information, and making decisions at various boundaries and levels; this implies that multicultural issues involving the interaction between the forensic investigators themselves and between forensic investigators and witnesses or suspect plays a significant role in ensuring the success of the investigation. In addition, Brian’s discussion fails to state, which one between is important between the two, that is, understanding of either language or culture. According to Gogolin (2012), understanding of culture is more important than understanding foreign language; this is because societies are always constructed around their respective cultures. Culture helps in revealing how a person is thinking, and how they are likely to act and the techniques that they are likely to deploy to conceal evidence; as a result, without having and understanding of culture, a digital forensic investigator is likely to overlook important clues that may have an impact on the success of the organization (Newman, 2007).
Student discussion 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?
All professions have psychological implications resulting from the nature of the work, the work environment and the people one interacts with in the course of exercising his/her duties, and digital forensic examination is not an exception. There are a number of psychological implications associated with digital forensic examination. The focus of Irnes’s discussion regarding psychological implications that a forensic examiner should be aware of focuses only one point: the likelihood that an investigator may bump on unpleasant material, which the forensic examiner ought to view in order to provide a proof of case; an example is the case of child pornography (Clarke, 2010). Disturbing evidence that was not anticipated during the investigation may put the investigator on shock and change the course of investigation. Other psychological implications not highlighted in Irnes’ discussion include: frustrations following a stuck case, especially in cases where the investigation reveals that laws were indeed broken, yet the legal justice system declines the case; and when the investigator is acquitted with the individual or organization under investigation, wherein the investigator is faced with the challenge of pursuing the case with objectivity or transferring the case to another investigator.
Regarding the psychological impact that is likely to impact the forensic investigator both at home and work, Irnes’ discussion focuses on the frustrations and stresses associated with digital forensic work, which can result in sleepless nights and nightmares because of disturbing evidence and long working hours. However, Irnes’ discussion does not mention the techniques that forensic investigators can use to address these implications, which include coping skills, 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 (Gogolin, 2012).
Clarke, N. (2010). Computer Forensics. New york: IT Governance Ltd.
Gogolin, G. (2012). 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.