Cognitive and human factors in digital forensics: Problems, challenges, and the way forward
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionDigital Investigation. The International Journal of Digital Forensics and Incident Response. 2019, 29 101-108. 10.1016/j.diin.2019.03.011
Digital forensics is an important and growing forensic domain. Research on miscarriages of justice and misleading evidence, as well as various inquires in the UK and the US, have highlighted human error as an issue within forensic science. This has led to increased attention to the sources of cognitive bias and potential countermeasures within many forensic disciplines. However, the area of digital forensics has yet to pay sufficient attention to this issue. The main goal of this article is to contribute to a more scientifically sound digital forensics domain by addressing the issues of cognitive bias as a source of error. In this paper we present an analysis of seven sources of cognitive and human error specifically within the digital forensics process, and discuss relevant countermeasures. We conclude that although some cognitive and bias issues are very similar across forensic domains, others are different and dependent on the specific characteristic of the domain in question, such as digital forensics. There is a need for new directions in research with regard to cognitive and human factors in digital forensics.