Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Evidence

You can interpret the advantages and inconveniences derived from the use of electronic evidence in a heterogeneous way. This is the case concerning "reliability." Some people believe that the objectivity and precision of electronic evidence makes it more reliable and, therefore, they favor its use; others think that the lack of means to verify the authenticity of electronic evidence makes it more vulnerable and, therefore, less reliable than traditional evidence, considering it an inconvenience to use and affecting its admissibility.

Among the advantages of electronic evidence is that the information is exact, complete, clear, precise, true, objective, and neutral, given that it comes from an electronic element, in which no subjectivity whatsoever exists, when compared to, for example, the declarations made by witnesses who can always be contradicted. Moreover, electronic evidence gives access to information that until now was impossible to obtain, as so much is contained in electronic devices.

Another advantage is the soundness of such evidence, its reliability, and viability due to the information it contains. Electronic evidence is considered essential to solving certain crimes, because this evidence is the only existing proof, therefore, it turns out to be very useful. Collecting and using electronic evidence is easy and quick, and storing it is not that complex.

Establishing the legal value of this type of evidence is perceived by many people as being difficult due to existing ignorance about data processing procedures and the interpretation of prosecutorial law in this respect. This difficulty is caused by the lack of suitable and systematic regulation as well as the lack of homogenous jurisprudence. There is a general fear of the vulnerability and ease with which this evidence can be manipulated, given its high degree of volatility, which is one of the disadvantages when proving its authenticity. Some believe that judges and prosecutors do not understand technical evidence, and it is hard to explain. From this feeling, some rejects its use in court. Another disadvantage is the difficulty of preserving electronic evidence and the scant information available on how to store it correctly for safekeeping.

Other disadvantages encountered refer to the lack of legal support and certification models: It seems harder to accept electronic evidence in court due to the fact that judges ask for more guarantees than for traditional evidence. The lack of understanding shown by some judicial agencies in Europe is inconvenient for the tasks being developed. Furthermore, the process of obtaining and interpreting the information supplied by an electronic device in order to convert it into electronic evidence is considered time-consuming, entailing heavy costs and impeding its use.

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