January 12, 2021

Cell site analysis - Further reading

The CCL cell site analysis team is one of the most highly regarded in Europe - and it's passionate about driving understanding, setting standards and establishing best practice in this still nascent forensics area. Here Principal Cell Site Expert Matt Tart shares some useful further reading on the subject.

CCL has firmly established itself as one of Europe’s leading digital forensics and investigation specialists. It means that we have a lot of specialist teams at the top of their game but perhaps none more so than our cell site analysis unit.

It’s an eight-strong group of established experts with national and international reputations, including renowned practitioner and academic Matthew Tart. But they are not just serving the criminal justice system, they are shaping it too – at least as far as maturing the understanding of digital forensics and role of opinion evidence goes.

That work can best be seen across a number of outlets - from published papers to conference platforms to webinars, and over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some of these along with other team news here on the blog.

Let’s kick off with three published papers.

“Historic Cell Site Analysis – Overview of principles and Survey Methodologies”; M Tart, I Brodie, N Gleed & J Matthews, Digit. Investig. (2012) 185-193.  https://doi.org/10.101/j.diin.2011.10.002

“Cell Site Analysis: Roles and Interpretation”; M Tart, S Pope, D Baldwin, Bird R. Sci. Justice 59 (2019), 558-564 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2019.06.005

“Opinion evidence in Cell Site Analysis” M Tart Sci. Justice 60 (2020), 363-374, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2020.02.002

For Matthew Tart, these are a critical read for both law enforcement and legal teams:

“The papers provide an academically peer-reviewed, scientifically legitimate base for Cell Site Analysis. Opinion evidence in digital evidence has evolved with little or no reference to the lessons learned in traditional forensic science; there is little use of inference models that are established in other areas to reduce risk (e.g. cognitive bias). Such models are essentially unknown, and their application to digital evidence are not immediately obvious to technologists with no background in inference. The papers can also be used as a touchstone for ISO accreditation work (although local validation/ verification would still be required). The papers have been submitted to leading scientific/ technical international journals and presented on an international stage with two intentions:

- Peer review by the strongest experts available, e.g. The paper on inference was presented to the Royal Statistical Society with the world’s foremost experts for inference in attendance. Papers have been presented to the Chartered Society of Forensic Science to experts in wider fields, academics and the judiciary

- Eliciting change within an established community. The papers likely to have the greatest impact on established process were presented to the NPCC Forensic Capability Network with nearly 400 attendees from 39 Police Forces, the private sector and academic institutions. This also enables peer review in the detail by practitioners who work in the field on a daily basis in a range of roles.

I’d be happy to field any questions on any of the above and to set up private workshop sessions for those keen to take a deeper dive look at things with me. You can contact me through CCL, with the usual matthew.tart@cclsolutionsgroup.com email.”

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