SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Blog: Daily Archives: Aug 27, 2009

Sweeping 9th Circuit Decision Regarding Law Enforcement Officer Computer Forensics

Reposted from Greg Haverkamp from the GIAC Certified Forensic Analysts [GCFA] Mailing list

The 9th Circuit released its en banc decision today in U.S. v Comprehensive Drug Testing. The case itself has ties to seizures made in relation to the Balco investigations. The most significant aspect of the decision, based on my initial reading, is the elimination of the "plain view" exception as it pertains to warranted searches of digital media. Specifically, it clobbers the widely held position that all files, including those not pertaining to the instant investigation, are in plain view and may be used as evidence of criminal activity beyond the scope of the original investigation. (Images of child pornography seem to be the most common instance of