Getting it right for judgement day

IT managers lack the appropriate training to ensure potential evidence is submitted to court in appropriate digital formats.

As a result the data needed to convict white collar criminals is often tainted before it is handed to court.

When it comes to going to court an IT department needs to be able to show that the integrity of the data has been maintained, said Andrew Perry, director of legal and technology at Legal.Consult, adding that a company needs to have documented data security procedures in place.

Perry said the state and federal Electronic Transaction Acts allow electronic copies instead of original documents in certain situations, provided the integrity of the document can be proven. "Under the Electronic Transactions Acts, it is also important that you retain all the header data of e-mails if you want to rely on the e-mail correspondence in future," Perry said.

For enforcement purposes, he said it is important that a document management system (DMS) is in place.

"Ideally, you would have the supplier of your DMS give a statutory declaration at the time the implementation is completed," he said.

Once digital certificates are in more widespread use, he said, they will enable documents to be digitally signed so that any tampering of the document, at least in the immediate future, is detectable.

Chris Joscelyne, founding member of the Australian IT Security Forum and managing director of Australian Projects said digital rights management usage creates a certainty of document authorship.

Joscelyne said data warehousing and storage is driving the uptake of DRM with evaluations currently under way in Australia.

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