Book Reviews: Information Security Books and Product Reviews – Practical Methods for Legal Investigations

 

Book Title:   Practical Methods for Legal Investigations

Subtitle: Concepts and Protocols in Civil and Criminal Cases

Author: Dean A Beers, CLI

Publisher: CRC Press

Date of Publishing: 9 Feb 2011

ISBN(13): 9781439844847

Price (UK&US price – full price, not discounted price): £57.99, $89.95

URL of Publisher Site:  CRC Press

URL of Amazon UK web page:  Practical Methods for Legal Investigations: Concepts and Protocols in Civil and Criminal Cases

URL of Amazon UK (Kindle) web page:  Not available

URL of Amazon US web page:  Practical Methods for Legal Investigations: Concepts and Protocols in Civil and Criminal Cases

URL of Amazon US (Kindle) web page:  Not available

I have managed and conducted investigations in both civil and criminal matters, in common and code law jurisdictions, as well as having acted on behalf of law enforcement on a number of occasions, having set up and run several computer forensics laboratories as well as having been involved in initiatives such as the UK National Occupational Standards for e-Crime Investigations. So, I thought that a decent methodological guide, as opposed to the technical guides available from ACPO, NIST, or the US Secret Service, would be really useful. Unfortunately, this isn’t it.This book is aimed very directly at a narrow field – “Legal” as opposed to “Private” investigators operating within the US federal legal context, with some indications as to where state laws may differ from federal. Within that context, it might be very helpful, but outside of it it is difficult to see what value it provides for the quite considerable price tag over the basic methodology outlined on the cover: Prepare, Inquire, Analyze, Document, Report. I would also note that this book does not cover any aspect of digital crime investigations, so its utility in the information security field is further reduced; nor does it cover the “expert witness” testimony usually required from an IT or infosec expert. It also does not cover any aspect of non-overt investigation – often required in the commercial field where it certainly does not live up to its back-cover billing as, “covering every aspect of the investigative purpose.”The book is well structured, covering the author’s five stages in turn and then addressing specialist areas such as ethics, photography, the author’s specialty, and autopsy reviews. However, the layout and language both suffer from an addiction to legalese – this book is likely to be most useful to a beginning investigator or somebody needing to understand US jurisdictional rules and restrictions, therefore clarity in layout and simplicity in language would be helpful. Large blocks of unbroken and complex text make this difficult to read and very easy to put down, even for somebody experienced with the subject area.

Reading this book was a chore, not a pleasure.

This book does not give the reader sufficient appreciation of the field to approach the management or investigation of computer crime or to make rational analyses of the proposals of external forensic suppliers. It may be worthy within its limited context and jurisdictional applicability but is not generally recommended for this audience.

Marks: 1 out of 5
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