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Handling Evidence Exposed to Biohazardous Material

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

In 2019, we presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Scientific Meeting on "Handling Evidence Exposed to Biohazardous Material: Guidance to Digital Forensic Practitioners on the Handling of Evidence Exposed to Biohazardous Materials".

This presentation stemmed from our own investigation and lab practices on dealing with evidence that has been exposed to toxic and biohazardous materials. We consulted with public health officials, OSHA, standards bodies and digital forensics labs around the world to understand what protocols were in place.

One of the key things we wanted to understand in our research is why a discrepancy exists between the forensic investigators that often work side by side. A review of literature highlights that crime scene investigators as well as trace and wet forensics scientists recognize the evidence contact risks of intentional, inadvertent or improper contact and handing of evidence. Digital forensic scientists encounter a different evidence risk - data alteration.

While the health and safety risks is the same across all disciplines, the evidence contact risk changes for digital forensic practitioners.

During the unsettling time of global pandemic, we hope that our fellow digital forensic scientists will revisit their need for personal protection when handling digital evidence from unknown sources. Your heath, the health of your family and your organization mission set could be affected if we neglect this vital concern.

You can download a copy of our presentation from this link.

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