Digital evidence plays a growing role in a wide variety of crimes as cell phones, computers, GPS and other digital devices carry increasing amounts of information about our everyday lives. To support development of standards and guidance for digital forensics, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Justice have named 20 experts to the Digital Evidence Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC).
NIST launched OSAC earlier this year to coordinate development of standards and guidelines for the forensic science community. The Digital Evidence Subcommittee is the last of four in OSAC's Digital/Multimedia Scientific Area Committee to be established. The other subcommittees address standards and guidance in facial identification, imaging technologies and speaker recognition.
The subcommittee's experts in digital forensics and technology will develop and vet standards for test methods, techniques and protocols, training and more—all related to evidence stored or transmitted in binary form. The subcommittee will then recommend standards and guidance to the OSAC's Scientific Area Committees and Forensic Science Standards Board, its governing body. Once approved, the documents will be included in an OSAC Registry of Approved Standards and its Registry of Approved Guidelines.
The new appointees are listed on the OSAC website. They were selected by members of the Digital/Multimedia Scientific Area Committee with the concurrence of NIST, the Justice Department and the Forensic Science Standards Board.
The Digital Evidence Subcommittee appointments came after the appointments of 23 other OSAC subcommittee members because the subcommittee subject area was not added to OSAC until September and, therefore, had a later application deadline. Subcommittee members normally will serve three-year terms. Members of this initial group will serve two-, three- or four-year terms, ensuring that in the future, roughly one-third of the members will be eligible to be replaced each year.
The five Scientific Area Committees will hold public meetings on Feb. 16 and 17, 2015, during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, in Orlando, Fla.