The author, Sean L. Harrington, is a digital forensics examiner, cybersecurity attorney, and e-discovery and litigation consultant with the private practice digital forensics firm of Attorney Client Privilege, LLC ( Harrington holds the MCSE, CISSP, CHFI, CSOXP, and CCFP, has served on the board of the Minnesota Chapter of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (, is a member of Infragard, a member of the Financial Services Roundtable cyber- legislative working group, a member of the Minnesota Ediscovery Working Group, a member of Century College's Computer Forensics Advisory Board and [erstwhile] Investigative Sciences for Law Enforcement Technology (ISLET) board, and is a council member of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Computer & Technology Law Section. ( Harrington earned a certificate in computer forensics from Century College's pioneering digital forensics program and graduated with honors from Taft Law School.
barristerharri has written 7 posts for Forensic Focus – Articles

Dealing with Data Encryption in Criminal Cases

Introduction Over the last several years, I’ve posted a handful of short blog entries about the topic of compelling a criminal defendant to surrender a passphrase to an encrypted volume or hard-drive.  These entries concern the three cases of re Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum Dated March 25, 2011, United States v. Fricosu, (D.Colo, 2012), and In … Continue reading

AccessData FTK 4.0: initial impressions

Introduction In this post, I will provide some initial impressions and findings.  I do not  endeavor to write a white paper, or to employ an industry standard, scientific methodology to evaluating the tool (if for no other reason than because I am constrained by time). PostgreSQL First, I note that it appears that no one … Continue reading

Eleventh Circuit Rules Defendant Cannot Be Compelled to Divulge Encryption Passphrase

Barely three weeks after I penned Another Judge Rules Encryption Passphrase not Testimonial Under Fifth Amendment Analysis, the Eleventh Circuit has held that a defendant’s “decryption and production of the hard drives’ contents would trigger Fifth Amendment protection because it would be testimonial, and that such protection would extend to the Government’s use of the drives’ contents.” For … Continue reading

Another Judge Rules Encryption Passphrase not Testimonial Under Fifth Amendment Analysis

I previously discussed, on a bar association section blog in 2007 (here) and 2009 (here), the case of In re Boucher, where a U.S. judge for the District of Vermont ruled that requiring a criminal defendant to produce an unencrypted version of his laptop’s hard-drive, which was believed to contain child pornography,did not constitute compelled testimonial communication.  Professor Orin Kerr … Continue reading

Forensic Toolkit v3 Tips and Tricks ― Not on a Budget

A couple of weeks ago, Brian Glass posted a very helpful comment, Forensic Toolkit v3 Tips and Tricks — on a Budget.  His comment focused on how to “get close to SSD performance on the cheap” and he discussed the practice of partitioning a large hard drive, but using only the outer sectors of the … Continue reading

Is your client an attorney? Be aware of possible constraints on your investigation. (Part 2 of a multi-part series)

In my first post several weeks ago, I discussed some of the special obligations that digital forensics investigators may have while in the employ of a lawyer. I elaborated briefly on the duty to zealously guard the attorney-client privilege, to correctly apply the work product doctrine, and to conduct investigations in a way that does … Continue reading

Is your client an attorney? Be aware of possible constraints on your investigation. (Part 1 of a multi-part series)

Significant legal and ethical challenges confront digital forensics investigators, for which some may not be well prepared. Just as many lawyers may be confounded by technology in dealing with digital forensics matters, many digital forensics experts lack formal legal training, and are uninformed about their special obligations in the employ of a lawyer. These obligations include … Continue reading

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