With digital devices becoming ubiquitous, digital evidence is increasingly important to the investigation and prosecution of many types of crimes. Identifying and prioritizing criminal justice needs related to digital evidence collection, management, analysis, and use was the goal of this research effort, the results of which are described in Digital Evidence and the U.S. Criminal Justice System: Identifying Technology and Other Needs to More Effectively Acquire and Utilize Digital Evidence. This tool presents the prioritized needs and allows the user to see how their priorities would change when the importance of different digital evidence objectives are changed.

Criminal justice agencies have a range of different objectives with respect to digital evidence from acquiring it effectively to improving the efficiency of analyzing it. This research effort identified a wide variety of different needs that would enable criminal justice agencies to perform better in this area, and determined the relative ranking of the different needs based on their potential contribution to one or more of the objectives. In our analysis, each of the five different digital evidence was weighted the same — that is, it was viewed as equally important to acquire digital evidence more effectively as it was to search and organize it better. Since views about the relative importance of these different goals could legitimately differ, this tool allows the user to see how the rankings of the digital evidence needs would change as the relative weight put on the different objectives is changed.

The research reported here was conducted in the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

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