Digital forensics will guarantee transparent elections – expert

Dr Peter Olayiwola, President, Certification Board, Computer Forensics Institute, Nigeria (CFIN), says that the deployment of digital forensics platforms will ensure credible and transparent elections in Nigeria.

Olayiwola spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the sidelines of the Induction and Awards Ceremony of CFIN, which was hosted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The induction was part of the 6th International Digital, Mobile and Computer Forensics Conference and Training Expo organised by CFIN.

According to him, the more technology is used in elections, the more they are made amenable to forensic investigation, so that the correct winner is declared at the end of the day.

“Digital forensics allows knowing exactly what happened; you can reconstruct the whole event.

“If somebody tried to compromise the results technologically, digital forensics will be able to see what happened; what was there before; what was done; what amendment was made and fraudulent activities that were carried out.

“Assuming we use electronic voting where we cast our votes even from home, digital forensics allows to detect if anything happens.’’

The digital forensics expert said that by introducing card reader, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had already keyed into it and would get closer to full electronic voting in Nigeria.

On security, Olayiwola said that the science of computer forensics had been very useful in combating crime, terrorism, and social problems like kidnapping.

He said that capacity building was a critical part of deploying digital forensics in security.

According to him, it is important for anyone who is going to investigate any form of crime to be knowledgeable on how to handle the crime scene.

“Right from the crime scene, you could contaminate the evidence; and just because you call evidence does not make it admissible in the law court

“There are issues of chain of custody; who had custody of the evidence.

“You need to acquire the tool-hardware and software so that you will be able to detect where a suspect may be hiding, who the criminal is and how he can be apprehended; you also need facilities to process these evidence.

“If for instance, you take a phone from a suspect, you need a forensic lab to extract evidence and produce a report for court evidence.’’

He said that fighting crime was expensive; hence it was important for the military, police and other law enforcement agencies to be properly and digitally equipped.

Olayiwola had earlier, in his address, told the inductees that aside knowing how to obtain data with forensic tools, they must grasp how the underlying technology worked.

He warned them to be of good conduct as the CFIN certification of anyone who violated CFIN’s professional ethics would be withdrawn.

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