In this update to the 2015 study, the authors examine US state statutes and regulations relating to licensing and enforcement of Digital Examiner functions under each state’s private investigator/detective statute. As with the prior studies, the authors find that very few state statutes explicitly distinguish between Private Investigators (PI) and Digital Examiners (DE), and when they do, they either explicitly require a license or exempt them from the licensing statute. As noted in the previous 2015 study there is a minor trend in which some states are moving to exempt DE from PI licensing requirements. We examine this trend as well as look at some additional information in terms of exemptions including those relating to practicing attorneys, employer/employee relationships, expert testimony, and penalties for violation of the PI statutes where it is believed a PI license is required.
As with the previous studies (Lonardo et al., 2008, 2009, 2012, 2015) we reviewed all state statues relating to PI licensing. Where statutory language did not explicitly address exemption or inclusion of Digital Examiners, we contacted the relevant state regulatory body (i.e., Secretary of State’s office, State Police, regulatory agency) to assess the applicability of Digital Examiners under the respective state statues. Based on this statutory review and regulatory feedback we present the various state approaches to professional Digital Examiner licensing. Our recommendation remains the same: states must differentiate between Private Investigator and Digital Examiner licensing requirements and oversight.
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Lonardo, T., White, D. & Rea, A. (2009). "To License or Not to License Revisited: An Examination of State Statutes Regarding Private Investigators and Digital Examiners." Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 4:3.
Lonardo, T., White, D. & Rea, A. (2012). "To License or Not to License Updated: An Examination of State Statutes Regarding Private Investigators and Digital Examiners." Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 7:3.
Lonardo, T., Rea, A. & White, D. (2015). “To License or Not to License Reexamined: An Updated Report on State Statutes Regarding Private Investigators and Digital Examiners.” Journal of Digital Forensics, Security, and Law, 10:1.
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Lonardo, Thomas; Rea, Alan; and White, Doug
"To License or Not to License Reexamined: An Updated Report on Licensing of Digital Examiners Under State Private Investigator Statutes,"
Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law: Vol. 17
, Article 1.
Available at: https://commons.erau.edu/jdfsl/vol17/iss2/1