We need a digital CSI

‘WASHINGTON, D.C. — WikiLeaks Monday morning posted an additional 2,000 emails that appear to be from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

This is the second leak in four days from WikiLeaks, which claims it has a trove of more than 50,000 emails from Podesta.’

Source: q13fox

The power of digital evidence is sensibly getting stronger and stronger as election campaign is heating up and election day is just around the corner.

But wouldn’t just too much of leaked emails end up into depowerment of the source itself instead of the target? Digital evidence is still not considered to be the clincher under any condition because it is not standing on firm ground. It can be altered, misinterpreted, or denied to be coming from the person in question.

My estimation is that as the number of significant leaks (especially documents and emails) will be topping in the next few years their value will be questioned or even disregarded by some. Without further support of their origin or confirmation from the source in the next five years more and more digital evidence will go down the drain without stirring up too much trouble.

For that to change we would need to use technologies like blockchain that can be traced back to the source of the original information and serve as proof to authenticity of content too. Everybody can fake an email or alter content now and while “photoshopping of evidence” is going to become a common practice we will be challenged by our judgment of authenticity.

Obviously the volume of digital crimes is ever increasing and we cannot fight it based on physical evidence. It is nigh impossible to assure that a certain document is original or fake, in a world where literally everything can be altered only using appropriate technological solutions to make sure that something happened in a certain way in a certain time. Maybe if the world would shift to decentralized internet where the events would happen scattered around the globe while still connected through a web of trust, falsifying evidence would be much more harder.