Collecting digital evidence and managing data in a way that secures the chain of evidence is paramount in every case. But the best data in the world is worthless if it can’t be shared. Collaboration between departments and agencies is key in nearly every case and critical in abduction or child sexual exploitation cases where every second counts. The question is, how do you share data to ensure the right people receive it while avoiding data breaches that can compromise cases?

In Part 2 of their 3-part series on Digital Intelligence, John Wilbur, Resident Agent In Charge, Computer Forensic Laboratory, Office Of The Inspector General, NASA, hosts a panel discussion that focuses on the thorny issue of data sharing.

Joining Wilbur in this lively discussion is G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia, United States Attorney’s Office; Scott Perry, Special Agent in Charge, Cyber Investigations and Technical Operations Division 51E, Office of the Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs; Louis Quijas, Executive Customer Advisor, Cellebrite; and Jason Miller, Executive Editor, Federal News Network.

The Challenge of Data Sharing

The panel acknowledges that data sharing is rife with problems—so much so that many agencies are more inclined to sit on data than risk the repercussions of sharing data and having something go awry. That hesitancy is understandable.

The US Attorney’s office, for example, must be able to certify in court that their data has been totally secured and that no unauthorized personnel have had access to it. Defense attorneys are always looking for ways to poke holes in data-handling protocols in an effort to invalidate data due to corruptions of the chain of evidence and spring their clients.

Sharing data through the Cloud is not an option because it opens the door to potential data breaches. This is why many agencies have adopted “Zero Trust” policies that prohibit cloud-based information from being shared. So, what is the best way to share information and how can agencies make data sharing work?

Sharing Solutions

In this episode, the panel dives deep into the proper policies and procedures that must be put in place to ensure data remains secure. Among the solutions discussed are:

  • Utilizing a secured central repository
  • Setting up a secured portal
  • Limiting who has access to the portal
  • Establishing two- and three-part security authentication processes
  • Placing time limits on how long individuals have access to the data

Panelists also discuss the importance of setting strict permissions than can be customized to allow control over who has access and what individuals can do with the data to keep cases from being blow sky high.

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