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With the wide-spread use of internet and the proliferation of digital media, more and more criminal activities, such as intellectual property infringement, money laundering, tax evasion, etc, involve the use of digital storage devices like hard discs, USB drives, secure digital (SD) cards, mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) etc. In order to prosecute for those illegal activities successfully, the evidences collected by law enforcement officials must be credible. A common technique used by the defense attorney in a trial is to attack the credibility of the evidences presented by the prosecutor.  As a result, officials handle these evidences and the media carrying these evidences require special training in the science of computer forensics, which deal with the recovery, investigation, archival, and reproduction of digital evidences without altering the evidences, or at least without creating any benefits of doubts that the evidences might be altered. Any suspicion or doubt that the evidences might be altered would render the evidences completely inadmissible to courts. In some occasions, this is all it takes to send a possible suspect free.
The Computer Forensic Laboratory (CFL) was established under the Office of Information Technology (OIT) of the Customs & Excise Department (C&ED) in November 2000, with a view to enhancing the capability for suppressing Customs related offences through the use of high-technology computers and the Internet. The major functions of CFL include the provision of forensic examination on digital evidence of computer items, presentation of digital evidence to the court of law, research & development of new means and tools to combat cyber crimes and liaison with local and overseas law enforcement agencies to enhance cyber crime investigation technique and computer forensic knowledge. As part of the information security planning, CFL has also set up a “Temporary Forensic Lab” in case the primary lab was unable to operate due to accidents or other operational anomalies (e.g. power failure or outbreak of epidemic diseases).
To demonstrate its commitment to providing quality services and possible highest confidence to court of law on the validity of the digital evidence presented, CFL has established, maintained and implemented the Quality and Information Security Management System (QSS) which meets the requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 & ISO 27001:2005 standards.
Until Nov 2007, CFL has handled and examined 325 cases which involved Internet piracy, pirated optical disc replication, pirated ring tone downloads, organized crime money laundering, broadcasting of pirated music, and the world’s first successful prosecution against copyright piracy related to the use of BitTorrent technology for illegal file transfer. All these cases together constituted over 38TB (38,000 GB) of data being analyzed.
Because of CFL’s commitment to quality service and information security management, CFL was also awarded the 2nd runner-up in the Specialized Service category of the Hong Kong Government Civil Service Outstanding Service Award Scheme 2007.
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SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.