Sunday, August 02, 2015

National Digital Science and Justice Office (NDSJO)

A recent forum discussion I read recently mentioned a Digital Forensics Capability Review. The discussion also identified the document that forms the basis of this review:

There were some good responses from forum members. Those responses combined with the initial enquiry and the download reference document suggested to me that keep tinkering here and there with different elements in "digital forensics" is perhaps why there is no real substantive change consolidating "digital forensics". There is a desire to galvanise a unifying system but as digital forensics is made up of so many constituent elements it maybe quite difficult to know where to start.

Some observations:

1) Industry specific foundation materials are need to make work ISO/IEC 17025; the latter document tries to be all things to all men - ISO/IEC 17025 is used by many industries from chemical production, metals, drugs, fertilisers through to food products etc. People may passionately argue it is the right standard to follow. ISO/IEC 17025 is a commercially orientated document for business. It outlines what is expected to get business but not how to go about achieving the results it defines should be met. Achieving the result requires specific i) competencies ii) knowledge iii) skillsets and iv) experiences which are not defined when simply applying over-arching generic principles.

2) A document that should be replaced is the "Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Principles (ACPO, 2012)". There should be in its place an industry document for digital forensic principles similar to the US NIST documents. This document should be for all and created by all and not created by public servants. Just because a document is not 'authorised' as the de facto standard doesn't mean to say it isn't being used in that way to ensure public funds are misguidedly placed in only certain sectors. This means an industry document would apply to everyone following the same criteria set by a 'body' as opposed to "don't do what we do, do what we say" brigade.  

3) There needs to be a body such as National Digital Science and Justice Office (NDSJO) that is not run by public or private cronies or apparatchik but by an elected office with elections every five years and no employment-for-life positions. It is important that at least one Active or Retired Senior Judge should be elected to post responsible for safeguarding independence, objectivity and impartiality and with the legal authority to enforce that. 3.1) The NDSJO shall avoid discrimination of any sort and the NDSJO to publish lists of those engaged by the NDSJO measured against criterion such as "age", "sex", "ethnicity" etc. and identify and put deterrents in place to prevent favour to one particular group of persons or political pressures. 3.2) The NDSJO to feed knowledge into national schools, academies, and colleges science education system for the future development of our children. 3.3) The NDSJO shall also provide for a membership and membership fee to ensure wisdom, knowledge, skills and experience thrives within the NDSJO. 3.4) The NDSJO shall work with the Competition Commission etc. to detect and stop cartels or monopolies taking place on public sector contracts. The higher proportion of public sector contracts to go to small and medium sized businesses to help them grow and to avoid large organisations dumping high levels of staff that can undermine the British economy.  3.5) To prevent major contract holders (a) suppressing salaries, wages or self-employed payments and skimming off profits whilst forcing sub-contractors to constantly find savings causing significant detriment to work performance, salaries/wages/self employed payment that when unfettered influence upturn in the British economy. 3.6) The NDSJO shall be responsible for preparing and producing particular digital science industry documents.

4) All manufacturers providing purchased or free tools (software and hardware) to be used for acquiring evidence whether commercial or forensic tools shall be registered with the NDSJO. Manufacturers shall legally self-certify their product as fit for purpose and those who sell tools provide the necessary insurance for all claims. The NDSJO to identify insurance schemes for free tools that have been produced through goodwill but having an effective and affective role when used in acquiring evidence. The latter may equally involve the user of the free tool providing an insurance that might be encapsulated as part of the membership fee of the NDSJO. it true that someone is smiling on the plans above? Well it could act as a needed fillip to the British economy.

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