The Digital Evidence Preservation Toolkit

Every day, dedicated investigative journalists and human rights monitors scour the Web in search of proof of abuse, wrongdoing, and crime. The material they gather is at risk of being ruled inadmissible and dismissed out of hand in court.

Ahead of verification and authenticity concerns, preserving this material appropriately is a difficult problem drawing on several technically-advanced fields: from the high standards of the maintenance of the chain of custody to the cost of storage, the need for accessibility and availability of the material years into the future, the challenges are considerable – and a lot for one organisation to take on.

Our goals

We aim to provide a proof-of-concept software for researchers and small teams sifting through online material. With only one click of the mouse, the material will be archived in a framework demonstrating chain of custody and stored durably. Once included in the growing database, users will be able to go back to search through and annotate the material, and to export working copies of said material for publication and dissemination.

Our aims

A database built thusly can be handed to a prosecutor ten years down the line, and they will be able to say with mathematical certainty:“the material in this archive is identical and contemporary to the one saved at the time, ten years ago.”

We want this to be the plastic sealed bag in which evidence is deposited, and which is then kept under watch in an evidence room, where each access is tracked and reported in a log.

Archives and resources