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By Perfect Panopticon and Bernd Carsten Stahl


Forensic computing is an emerging academic discipline and professional field. Most publications in the area concentrate on technical issues related to the provision of digital evidence that can stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. There is a generally shared assumption that forensic computing activities are legitimate and in the best interests of society. This article aims to shed doubt on that prevailing narrative. The article uses some of the concepts of critical theory as applied in critical research in information systems and critical legal studies to point to some potential problems of forensic computing in the workplace. Drawing on traditional critical theory, the article argues that forensic computing can be used as a hegemonic means to uphold ideology even when it is used in law enforcement. Further problems arise due to the use of forensic computing by private organisations. An obvious use to which forensic computing can be put in corporations is that of employee surveillance. The parallel between forensic computing and the Panopticon is explored. The article concludes by discussing the relationship between the different critical approaches and the ways in which these approaches can inform us about the future use of forensic computing in the workplace. Crime is ubiquitous, so are computers, and, consequently, so is computer crime. Computers and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used as tools of conventional crime and they may lend themselves to qualitativel

Year: 2010
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