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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default Qualifying a Computer Expert

    What level of qualification would be required for a computer expert to testify about linking the IP of a computer to posts on a message board? Is a graduate degree and publications required? Or have the courts taken to accepting lesser qualifications or even dispensed with the requirement of expert testimony for linking IP addresses to computers?

    Would the qualifications be different in a civil trial versus a criminal trial? I.e., would a police computer forensics expert require different qualifications than a civil expert?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Qualifying a Computer Expert

    There's no standard for what level of educational achievement you must have to qualify as an expert. Experience in the field can qualify somebody, even if they have no degrees. Of course if you want the big bucks, and to impress the jury with your qualifications, it helps to rack up degrees, certifications, honors and awards, a strong history of employment, publications, etc.

    Police experts often train at special programs for law enforcement officers, not available to the public, and often become "experts" simply by virtue of their completion of the courses and the fact that the prosecutor is putting them on the witness stand. So yes, I guess that's a different standard.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Qualifying a Computer Expert

    I would say, in general, you should look for an expert with a combination of schooling and experience. Certs like A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA, Linux+, Microsoft Certified Technology Expert would be a place to start.

    But be careful; I would try to interview people who have established positions as Network and or System administrators at reputable companies. This is where the experience factor comes in. Don't go to the geek squad with this one - find a person who has been overseeing a live network for the better part of a decade or so.

    School doesn't mean everything; one of the smartest Network Admins I've ever met spent his 20's and 30's as a commercial fisherman. While I, who am A+, Network+ and Security+ certified, do not have a clue how to run the network he runs, or feel I would serve as an adequate expert witness.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Qualifying a Computer Expert

    An expert generally can be called an expert if he has met the following (usually a mixture of):
    1) educational background
    2) authored publications in peer reviewed journals/publications
    3) been qualified as an expert before by a court

    Most officer are not "experts" just because they took a 1 week course in something. There is no different standard really, its just that cops are not put on the stand as experts in many cases. Even a non-expert can discuss his educational backround to show that his opinions may have some merit. This is how most officer's testimony is presented in court. People can object any time to any witness that appears to be giving "expert testimony".

    Experts generally must:
    a) produce a CV for review
    b) produce a report showing what they would testify to as an expert & how their experience justifies them to be qualified as an expert

    Expert witnesses must be disclosed prior to trial.

    I have been accepted in court as an expert witness & have been rejected as well; the judge has great descretion in this area. There are no magic rules as to what skills & educaton makes someone an expert. All of the requirements are not mandatory but are general requirements.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,598

    Default Re: Qualifying a Computer Expert

    There's not enough information here, but any body who has a substantial knowledge of IP networking or computer security would be more than enough. As pointed out, this isn't rocket science. You take the IP address from the logs, it's an easy lookup to find the network provider, and then depending on what the nature of the service provided to that user is, you can figure out at least which customer it is. Tracing down to the individual computer is possible in many circumstances.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Qualifying a Computer Expert

    The thread is from January, 2010. My guess is that the case is over.

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