A computer expert witness is a qualified professional who deals in assessing information technology or computer systems for fact-finding in a judicial venue. As an expert witness, the computer expert witness is not usually an eyewitness or someone involved in the case. Instead, he or she is a computer specialist who is called to be a witness to provide testimony in court on computer related matters.
A computer expert witness is often involved in what is called "computer forensics." Computer forensics generally refers to using technology to find evidence in a criminal or civil case. The term forensics can be misleading, because with computers, the examination of evidence can be related to wide range of types of investigation.
Computer experts may often look at "digital artifacts." In the world of technology law, a digital artifact is just a piece of evidence. It can be a hard drive or other storage element. It can also be a method of data acquisition such as a server or ethernet network. Computer experts and other types of witnesses examine digital artifacts to find out about computer related crimes or other situations.
Individual computer expert firms provide information to clients on what they provide as witnesses. One aspect of doing the work of a computer expert witness is in the speed of data recovery in terms of gigabytes per minute. Firms may also discusss costs up front with clients to make sure everyone understands what goes into a computer expert witness service.
Firms who are providing computer expert support for a legal case or trial may also talk about the steps or stages of their work. Some of them refer to a multi-step process involving such terms as analysis, acquisition, examination, and fact presentation. Many computer expert witness services will initially look over IT systems to find out how best to acquire the data needed for evidence. They may then implement the acquisition of the data. Generally, they will end their services with a presentation of findings to clients who will use the findings in a legal situation.
In many instances, where two asset-holding parties are locked in a legal struggle, a computer expert witness may be crucial to developing a solid case through presenting specific IT evidence. Clients may look at a cost analysis for hiring a specific firm and proceed in the way that constitutes their best interests. Although computer expert firms may charge hundreds of dollars per hour for case related work, they may end up saving their clients much more money during the progress of a case or trial.