The science of computer forensics is increasingly used in legal cases. E-evidence can make or break a prosecutor's case. Here's a sampling of legal cases where electronic evidence plays a role:

  • Prove that something happened. You might find evidence in an e-mail indicating sexual harassment; in financial files indicating fraud or IRS violations; or in file transfers indicating theft of intellectual property, for example.

  • Prove that someone did not do something. Image files of child exploitation on a person's office PC might have been downloaded by someone else because the PC had no password or firewall protection.

  • Figure out what the facts prove or demonstrate. You might discover private e-mail messages, texting, financial accounts, or other online activities that demonstrate contract or patent violations, hidden assets, infidelity, theft of intellectual property, misuse of company networks, or illegal activities.