Currently, technology is very present in our lives, so that more and more, computer-based evidence is part of everyday life in the judicial field. One of the most common cases is the accreditation or challenge of facts related to information published on social networks, in which it is sought to determine its origin, authenticity and integrity.
Nowadays, social networks are here to stay, they have entered our lives and have become one of the main means of interacting with our environment. Misuse of them can lead to the commission of a crime. Typical examples are threats, insults, coercion, etc.
Minors are the ones who have more problems with social networks due to their ignorance. They, through this type of network, trust unknown persons by providing them with personal data. Problems arise when these strangers intentionally misuse them for malicious purposes, being in most cases of a criminal nature.
It is very common, to commit the temerity, to present a screenshot of a social network printed on paper as evidence in a judicial proceeding. In this case, the evidence is rebuttable since screenshot of a social network, given their nature, may be manipulated, and their mere printed presentation is not enough to prove their origin, authenticity and integrity.
As it is indicated in the Supreme Court Judgment 300/2015, May 19th , 2015 the proof of facts by means of screenshot of a social network “… is approached with all caution by the courts of justice. The challenge of the same displaces the burden of proof on those who intend to take advantage of their probative suitability. In such a case, the practice of an expert evidence will be essential … “.
The most frequent types of orders are:
“It is noted in the appeal that, as recognized in the contested judgment, and in relation to the alleged threats that are the subject of conviction and the lack of harassment, the only existing evidence in relation to such infractions is made up of various messages ( ‘Tweet’) on the social network ‘Twitter’ transcripts of ‘screenshots’ or printing of such messages, issued from a Twitter profile called ‘des pe cha do’ @ despechado2.”
“… he has denied at all times, since his first statement, the authorship of the same.“
“Of course, there is no report whatsoever on the origin, authorship and possible alteration and authenticity of the messages and the creation of the ‘Twitter’ profile from which the threatening and humiliating messages (‘tweets’) were sent, stating only that the messages were published from a profile of said Social Network called ‘des pe cha do’ @ despechado2′, whose identification icon, as occurs in thousands and thousands of non-personalized icons, is the representation of an ‘egg ‘, really ignoring if they were ‘tweets’ or were direct messages (DM).”
“Specifically, according to the appellant, the affirmation that it was he who sent the Instagram message to the complainant lacks evidence, since at all times he denied having done so, without any proof having been practiced to prove his authorship.“
“We consider that the appellant is right when he affirms that the evidence has been erroneously evaluated and, as a consequence, there has been a violation of the presumption of innocence. The defendant denied having sent the message and being the owner of the account from which the message was sent.”
“The verification procedure of the Lawyer of the Administration of Justice has judicial public credibility in the content of the message and the denomination of the accounts of origin and destination. However, it does not prove that the first of those accounts belongs to the accused, nor, of course, that it was he who sent the message.“
“… there is no doubt that there was the possibility of resorting to this by incorporating the expert report referred to by the Supreme Court or by communicating with the provider of the messaging application.”
“The appealed ruling is essentially based on the ineffective and invalid expert evidence that has been provided as the only justification for the facts imputed in the letter of dismissal to the plaintiff, for several reasons explained by the Magistrate of Instance in her ruling. The first is because she understands that the expert presented by the company lacks an official degree in computer science, although at this point it is recognized that the expert is the person who provides computer assistance to the company as a freelancer, which implies at least a practical knowledge of what he is hired for. On the other hand, the informal nature of the expert evidence and the questioning of the chain of custody are argued. Special mention is also made of the breach of the guarantees of the plaintiff’s right to privacy at the time of carrying out the inspection and search of the computer equipment, declaring it proven that the plaintiff was not present. In short, the Magistrate of Instance, evaluating this evidence and the testimonies provided at the oral trial concludes that the defects in the practice of the expert evidence carried out by the company prevent granting probative value to this means of proof, and given that it is essential to prove the facts imputed to the plaintiff, declares the dismissal unjustified.”
From FORENSICTECH we provide our clients with the security of having: