Privacy in UK police digital forensics investigations

Paul van Schaik, Alastair Irons, Karen Renaud

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Background: Privacy is a human right, but what happens when a person’s privacy rights encounter legitimate police investigations? Is it even possible to carry out these investigations in a privacy-respecting way? If the person being investigated makes use of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs), how does this impact digital forensics investigations? Aim: The aim of our study was to identify how privacy rights and the use of PETs influence police digital forensics practices. Methods: We carried out a study with 10 digital forensics investigators from UK police forces to explore how considerations of privacy and citizens’ PET use inform or affect digital forensics investigations. Results: We identified specific uses of privacy-related principles that ought to apply in digital forensics investigation, and hindraces to digital forensics investigations from citizens’ use of PETs. Conclusions: We concluded with potential implications for practice and ideas for future research to reconcile the law enforcement activities with individual citizens’ inalienable privacy rights.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2024
EventHawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS): HICSS 2024 - Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, Honolulu, United States
Duration: 3 Jan 20246 Jan 2024


ConferenceHawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)
Abbreviated titleHICSS-57
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • police
  • privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs)
  • digital forensics


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