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Software on the Witness Stand: What Should It Take for Us to Trust It?

June 25, 2011 Comments off

Software on the Witness Stand: What Should It Take for Us to Trust It? (PDF)
Source: Institute for Security, Technology, and Society, Dartmouth College

We discuss the growing trend of electronic evidence, created automatically by autonomously running software, being used in both civil and criminal court cases. We discuss trustworthiness requirements that we believe should be applied to such software and platforms it runs on. We show that courts tend to regard computer-generated materials as inherently trustworthy evidence, ignoring many software and platform trustworthiness problems well known to computer security researchers. We outline the technical challenges in making evidence-generating software trustworthy and the role Trusted Computing can play in addressing them.

This paper is structured as follows: Part I is a case study of electronic evidence in a file sharing” copyright infringement case, potential trustworthiness issues involved, and ways we believe they should be addressed with state-of-the-art computing practices. Part II is a legal analysis of issues and practices surrounding the use of software-generated evidence by courts.

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