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Gone – but not forgotten


We live in the age of public trials, teams of attorneys that are as expensive as they are expansive and Joe Citizens understanding of courtroom evidence and what it takes to prove a case in court is getting better with each passing trial.


At the heart of many a courtroom these days is technology. Yes, we’re talking about deleted e-mails, formatted hard disk drives and internet browsing history. Welcome to the exciting and often interesting world of Digital Forensics.


Digital Forensics is practiced by a small handful of specialists around South Africa. Typically these are people with an investigative background who specialize in technology as an investigative aid to the legal fraternity and security industry.


For some years now, forensic capabilities have been well documented and used in courts around the world to reveal and review online activities, deleted mails and data from laptops, computers and servers.


So what manner of information does a Digital Forensics specialist work with? The norm these days seems to be cellular handsets. With the advent of smartphones that allow you to use Facebook, WhatsApp, Email as well as SMS, Wi-Fi hotspots and make calls and take photos, these devices hold a wealth of information not visible to the naked eye.


A quick demonstration to a client of the current technology run against my iPhone brought up spider diagrams of who I communicate with, how frequently and of course – the infamous logs. Logs indicating every call made, text received, photo taken (including GPS coordinates) and way more information than what should have been there – deleted images and texts, passwords and locations of all the Wi-Fi spots I’ve used.


Couple this information with the data provided by cellular networks and you’re talking about true insight into the world of the handsets owner and their communication with the world.


Whether the case revolves around proving or disproving someone’s precise location at a particular point in time, recovering deleted images and text messages or exploring their interactions with other people, smartphones carry all the answers – if you have the technology at hand of course to see the unseen.


In today’s society, cellular phones are indispensable and carry vital information of a social and business nature. All too often the interactions people have on their phones become the subject of criminal, civil or CCMA matters and cutting edge technology in the Digital Forensics field is making this very information available to attorneys and investigators alike at a global standard


TCG has always had a forensic capacity. While we haven’t advertised it too widely or promoted it we’ve decided it’s time to grow this side of the business and extend the service offering. Over the years we have resolved and appeared in a number of matters both civil and labour related as well as assisting in criminal matters.