The lack of unified cross-border forensics procedures along with the legal ambiguities between jurisdictions do not facilitate the handling and admissibility of digital evidence in the courts of justice. With the aim to address the above mentioned challenges, LOCARD provides a collaborative and distributed platform to automate the management of digital evidence with blockchain technology guaranteeing, therefore, the integrity and transparency of the cross-jurisdictional chain of custody. As depicted in the following figure, the project has reached the end of the third year of development.
Current Status of the Project
The core of the LOCARD platform is already a reality. Over the third year of the project, the development teams finished their work and delivered a beta release of the LOCARD platform. Currently, LOCARD is finalising the testing and validation phase (month 36) and demonstrations to external stakeholders have already started. Moreover, the EU Commission has officially approved the extension of the project until 31st July. The dissemination tasks in conferences and webinars, publication of research articles and progress with stakeholders and sister projects are ongoing. After the presentation of the standard at the ISO SC27 WG4, the proposal has become a Preliminary Work Item.
Some members of the consortium have participated in a joint article with EUROJUST aiming to provide a thorough analysis of the current state of practice of cross-border investigations. The article describes the most relevant project and tools, summarises the related gaps and challenges, and enables practitioners and stakeholders undertake a fruitful discussion of the road ahead of this particular matter. The manuscript has been sent to a high-impact journal and is available in the following link.
Over the next few months, the main objective in LOCARD is to foster the participation of end-user teams focusing their activities primarily on the assessment of various aspects of the platform and tools as well as the valuation of the project defined KPIs. Moreover, the design of the platform architecture and the final end-user and system requirements will be fully achieved by the end of the project.
Regarding the exploitation strategy, several actions aiming to guarantee the long lasting impact of the project are being defined. Likewise, the joint paper written by LOCARD, ROXANNE and FORMOBILE will be presented at the CEPOL conference in June 2022.
Communication with sister projects GRACE and CYBERSPACE has recently started, and recent communications with EACTDA are ongoing.
The following list highlights those key public deliverables planned to submit to the EU Commission by the end of the project. Once approved, all reports will be published on the project website.