Reacting to a traditional criminal investigation that is targeting you is difficult enough as it is. Knowing how to respond to a cybercrime investigation is even trickier. The laws regarding cybercrime and internet crime investigations are young and under continual development, leading many people to become misled about their rights. Do not let the criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies walk all over you due to your own lack of understanding about cybercrime investigations.
Protecting Yourself from Digital Investigations
The main thing you need to know about investigations involving the digital world is that they are essentially mirrors of real world investigations. If investigators and specialists want to get access to private information that is under your control, they can’t just go download it or spy on your social media accounts. Instead, they need to obtain a warrant to snoop around, just as they would if they wanted into your home to search under your bed. Should an investigator ever ask to dig through your computer files – it is more likely they will just say they are going to do so – you have the right to see a warrant first; if none is produced, no access should be granted.
On the other hand, “public” information on the internet and in digital files is much more widespread than you might think. Anything that has been seen or can be accessed by someone other than yourself is often considered public information that can be taken without a warrant.For example: If you post incriminating information on your private Facebook account, it is still public information since your friends and Facebook staff members can access it without direct permission and without deception.
Deleted digital files are also subject to examination and collected. As you may not have known, deleting a file on your computer very rarely actually deletes it as you would expect. The information is most often removed entirely from any software access point but still remains on the hard drive, so investigators could grab your hard drive and comb through it until the files they want are found. Data is only truly “deleted” if the hard drive is filled beyond excess and the data is overwritten.
When in Doubt, Seek Counsel
The laws around cybercrime investigations and cybercrimes themselves can feel vague to someone not familiar with legalese. If you really want to know that you are protecting yourself and your rights in the digital world, speaking with a cybercrime attorney might be the right choice. You can call 414.882.8382 to connect with the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella and discuss your options with our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer. Contact our office today.