Use of Digital Forensics in Counter Terrorism Cases

29th April to 3rd May 2019, Islamabad - The UNODC and European Union recognize the significance and scope of digital forensics which is rapidly expanding in the ever-growing arena of the digital world. Under the framework of Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) Project, the UNODC organized a five-day training at the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) on the 'Use of digital forensics in Counter Terrorism Cases' from 29th April - 3rd May 2019 for Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with the support of the European Union. The aim of this training was to communicate familiarity on the collection, preservation, and use of digital forensics data for effective conclusion of cases in lines with the latest tools and technology.

The training was attended by twenty officers from specialized technical units of the CTD KP; including the Research and Analysis (R&A) Wings and Cyber Forensic Units (CFU) from CTD Headquarters and different regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The content of the training session primarily focused on the introduction and scope of Digital Forensics; specifically, its identification, collection, preservation, and transportation. The trainees were given case studies to comprehend the concepts, using state-of-the-art mock crime scenes and other facilities at the PFSA. The course was delivered by the experts from the PFSA who provided hands-on training to the CTD KP officials on the tools and techniques used in the scientific examination, and the analysis of digital and cellular devices. The trainers guided the technical teams on how to perform a forensic investigation on digital evidence while maintaining the documented chain of custody for presentation as evidence in the court of law.

In addition to the above, Dr. Naveed Ahmad- Assistant Professor from the University of Peshawar lead a special session on the Use of Cryptocurrencies and Dark Web in Terrorism in which he presented the basic concepts of Blockchain technology layered under cryptocurrencies and the dark web. Furthermore, he shed light on the trends and case studies from around the globe on criminals who are increasingly using cryptocurrencies for illegitimate activities like money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion. He provided a detailed insight on the traditional sources of terrorist funding, and the use of modern technologies by terrorist groups; while emphasizing the importance of digital forensics in their successful investigation and disruption. 

On the final day of the training, Dr. Tahir Ashraf- Director General PFSA, gave the closing remarks in which he lauded the sacrifices of the KP Police in battling the menace of terrorism and welcomed the expansion of the programme for advanced training in the field of digital forensics for CTD KP. The DG also registered his appreciation regarding the support of UNODC and the EU towards initiating a major change in the country's criminal justice system. The CTD KP officers expressed their satisfaction with the training and likewise applauded the efforts of the PACT team. On the conclusion of the session, Dr. Tahir presented certificates to the participants.