Career Possibilities With Forensic Anthropology

Forensic anthropology is pairing the technology of human osteology and physical anthropology, generally within legal environment. Osteology refers to the study regarding a person’s skeleton. Anthropology forensics will be most often used in criminal investigations generally if the victim’s remains are already inside the advanced stages of decomposition.

To make anthropology forensics a job, you will have to concentrate on two fields of forensics training: bodily anthropology and archeology. In physical anthropology, the main focus must be on skeletal biology. An actual anthropologist is in charge of determining if the bones are human or not, and if they are, to create a biological profile from the bones that will help in identifying the person. This biological description essentially includes identifying the gender, ancestry, age at the moment of death, trauma, as well as stature. Alternatively, by being a professional in archeology, the forensic anthropologist is able to help out with searching for and digging up skeletal remains.

Exactly why anthropology forensic experts exist is so that they can discover the truth as well as provide evidence for their theory. A forensic anthropologist gives us the right perspective of the situation by delivering evidence of what individuals claim to have happened that in fact didn’t happen.

With the increasing occurrence of criminal offenses today, the need for qualified experts in anthropology experts increase. Thus you will find them working in law enforcement agencies including the FBI where they act as private consultants in both an academic as well as laboratory setting, in research, and in the medical examiner or coroner departments.

On the other hand, forensic anthropologists are not only needed in criminal investigations. Forensic anthropology also works in different archaeological research. Studying and learning about past cultures like burial practices, provides us with a better understanding of the social organization and sex differentiations a long time ago. Another feature where forensic anthropology can be applied is in studying the health and diet of a culture. There are certain diseases that physically changes the skeletal structure, thus forensic anthropology comes in to determine the causes for which these were caused.

The advance brought about in science and technology is continuously improving the tools that forensic anthropologists use. Although forensics anthropology dates back to as long as the mid sixteenth century, the recent changes in the industry, particularly the tools and methods of study, have propelled this science into a whole new level.

Why Law Firms Need a Computer Forensic Analyst

As computer technology continues to evolve, law firms will find that they need an expert computer forensic analyst on their team. An analyst will have the knowledge necessary to located and produce data that may have been erased from a computer, and can provide crucial information that would otherwise not be available. After the data is recovered, a computer forensic analyst will work to analyze information, and produce important data that is relevant to your case. There are several companies that offer these services to law firms, and it is important to work with a company that will approach your case in the same manner that an expert witness would.

An experienced computer forensic analyst will be able to provide e-discovery services that will help you litigate in the most effective way possible. Some companies that offer these technological services may just host and process your data and step away. It is important to work with a computer forensic analyst that will analyze, locate, and produce the information that law firms need to make the most educated decisions possible.

A computer forensic analyst is an important team member of a law firm because they will have the tools and expertise necessary to evaluate large data sets like emails and documents. They will be able to apply the forensics necessary to take a deeper look into what an individual’s activities reveal about their state of mind and thought process. The skills can be used to extract important data from phone records as well as from computers. Having the help of a computer analyst who is skilled with using e-discovery software will be able to help your law firm prepare for possible litigation in the most effective way possible. This will be an important element to ensure the success of your case.

Working with an experienced computer forensic analyst can help your law firm address issues concerning a variety of issues. Their expertise will be crucial when preparing for trade secret litigation, general business litigation, criminal defense litigation, personal injury litigation, medical technology, public entities, securities litigation, software industry issues, shipping industry issues, and many other issues that involve electronically stored information. An experienced computer analyst will be able to help provide you with all the data you need to effectively prepare for litigation. Be sure to work with a company that can bring the experience and professionalism necessary to provide you with the data your firm requires.

Computer and Technology Forensics Expert: Managing the Risky Business of Company E-Mail

As an employer, Human Resources Director, or Risk Management Supervisor, ask yourself this question: “Do our employees think about the legal risk of sending communications over the internet?” If you are like the majority of companies, your answer would be, “It is highly improbable”. It is a very common problem amid the work place, for an employee to believe their electronic communications are transient, temporary and, once deleted, untraceable and therefore, harmless.

The fact is e-mail, faxes and even cellular phones leave a trace. Just one e-mail sent from your employee to the employee of a different company passes through an average of four different computer systems. This creates a trail making e-mail real, traceable, and permanent.

As an industry leader in Computer and Technology Forensics for the past 20 plus years, we have documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else. Either having an employee delete a potentially damaging or inflammatory e-mail or even an employee deleting an e-mail on their own, does not protect anyone. In fact, it could in the end harm everyone involved.

If a complaint or inappropriate conduct of an employee has risen to the level where you as an owner/supervisor, need to consult a Computer and Technology Forensics expert, one of the first areas checked is for deleted documents and/or e-mails. These items cause red flags during an examination of equipment, and the original items can and most likely will be found and/or reconstructed. It is very important to understand that the intentional destruction of evidence is a felony, and if proven, could land one in jail.

An example of computer message in a court case dates back to the infamous trial of some of the Los Angeles Police being tried in the 1991 beating of Rodney King. One of the officers created a computer message stating, “… I haven’t beaten anyone that bad in a long time.” This obviously became admissible in court.

A more recent example, is one in which we as a company were hired in a libel case. The libeler was using the internet to post messages on a public bulletin board that were both slanderous and libelous against a competitor in the same field. This person felt that by using “anonymous” e-mails and postings, this would increase their own standing within the same professional community. What the libeler didn’t count on was the traceability of the e-mails to their home, cell phone and company computer systems. We were able to locate the electronic trail, and with this information obtain, on behalf of the client, a court order to confiscate the equipment in order to create image copies of the electronic systems. As a result, in order to keep the issue private, the libeler agreed to a significant out of court settlement.

As an owner/supervisor, it is left to you to consider and take great care in educating your employees in what should or shouldn’t be put in writing. In addition, it is also up to you to make your employees aware how the written word is conveyed when read.

We have now asked and answered two very important questions. First, the majority of employees do not consider the legal risk of electronic communications. Second, as an owner/supervisor why it is crucial you understand the potential legal ramifications. The remainder of this article is devoted to assisting you in creating and/or updating your current policies.

In today’s litigious society, company’s both large and small should have company policies. These policies have traditionally covered areas from dress codes to vacation policies. Within the past five years companies have begun adopting IT policies, generally found within the employee handbook. As a professional Computer and Technology Forensics company, when we are called in to examine hard drives and/or servers due to a company suspecting the improper use of systems, we also discuss the company’s IT policies with the appropriate supervisor or IT manager.

In many cases we have found that most policies do not adequately cover what is necessary in the computer and electronic communication age. Companies should have a very clear e-mail and technology use policy. One of the more important ones usually not covered, and unfortunately to the detriment of the employer, is an e-mail retention policy. Since many industries are governed by different and specific federal and/or state statutes on how long information must be retained, your policy should reflect these guidelines.

The policy should be as specific as possible in what types of communications are kept and how long. Make it clear there are both business and legal reasons for the company keeping such information. Information from e-mails as well as other electronic systems can be used in many types of cases, including: harassment, discrimination, antitrust, retaliation, Americans with Disabilities Act, insider trading, accounting fraud, improper trade secret disclosure and more!

REMEMBER- The intentional destruction, of any kind, of evidence relevant to a current or pending lawsuit contained in the e-mail or e-mail attached document, is a felony, and if proven, could land one in jail.

As an owner/supervisor, take a moment to examine your current IT or company’s technology policy. If your company doesn’t currently have an IT or technology policy-get one! While you will need to insure the individual needs of your company are met, following are some topics of what you should consider including in your usage polices:

  • Electronic information ownership
  • Monitoring of technology use
  • Acceptable use of company technology
  • Acceptable content

If you currently hold meetings with your employees or publish a company newsletter, these are excellent venues to use to educate your employees. Utilize these opportunities to let them know there are certain things they should be aware of when sending or responding to e-mails. Employees should be counseled to be cautious and to not make statements that can be considered a legal conclusion. Let your employees know they should utilize the knowledge and expertise within the company by picking up the phone and calling their supervisor or Human Resource Department.

When educating your employees about the content of an e-mail or using other forms of traceable electronic technology, train the employee to ask themselves these simple questions:

  • Should I put this in e-mail or should I call?
  • Would I write this down knowing that it may exist forever?
  • Would I put this on a postcard and mail it?
  • Would I want to see this printed in the newspaper?
  • Would I want this to get into the hands of my company’s competition?
  • Would I want this to get into the hand of my worst enemy?

Electronic communications are not transient, temporary or untraceable. E-mail is evidence. Education and proper policies go a long way to keep both employees and the employer from ending up in a potential lawsuit trying to explain the written word.

scott@evidencesolutions.com