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A Formal Rule-Processing Engine for Privacy-Respecting Forensic Investigation

Valeria Andreolli

15 February 2015

04 March 2018

EC funded project

The forensics investigation requirements are in direct conflict with the privacy rights of those whose actions are being investigated. At the same time, once the private data is exposed it is impossible to ‘undo’ its exposure effects should the suspect is found innocent! Therefore, there is a growing concern in the development of forensic investigation frameworks that respect privacy of the involved entities whiles only need-to-know data are exposed to the forensic investigator.

To the best of our knowledge, there is no model for privacy-respecting digital forensic investigation that is capable of considering different jurisdictions requirements and protects subjects' data privacy in accordance with search warrant permissions and collected data requirements. PRIVACY4FORENSICS developed a rule-processing engine that extracts privacy properties of collected data and investigation search warrant(s), detects conflicting or uncertain situations and labels collected data accordingly, and monitors and controls investigator access to collected data in accordance with the assigned labels. The model is capable of parsing any privacy policy (to support different rules and regulations in different contexts) and labels any type of collected-data while it keeps the soundness of the investigation by not amending the source data.

The main contributions of this research are development of a formal language for capturing privacy properties of forensic investigation search warrant and collected data policies, devising objective criteria for comparing and contrasting privacy properties to detect potential conflicts or uncertain situations and making objective rulings, development of a practical strategy for labeling the collected data in accordance with privacy rulings, and innovation of a privacy-respecting forensics investigation controlling and monitoring engine.