Recently the Department of Justice issued a US search warrant to Microsoft in regard to emails sent from an Ireland-based subscriber. According to an article in the Guardian, “The United States government has the right to demand the emails of anyone in the world from any email provider headquartered within US borders, Department of Justice (DoJ) lawyers told a federal appeals court…)

While they argue the case in court with Microsoft contending that the DoJ has exceeded its authority, computer forensics firms here in the US are legally bound to obtain permission from device owners and to follow a legal process for cell records in digital forensics investigations.

Some may believe that computer forensics investigations are done in the shadows. That may appear to be the case when professional computer forensics companies like are conducting forensic data recovery from a computer, but appearances can be deceiving.

For instance, in the case of one spouse suspecting another spouse of marital infidelity, the family computer may be the source of evidence of a secret affair. Investigators don’t get their way into the home and “lift” the computer. No, because the device is jointly owned, the digital forensic investigation can be conducted with permission of one of the owners. The suspicious spouse usually brings the device to our lab for the computer forensic analysis. We conduct the investigation, return the device and provide a report of what has been found.

The same holds true for mobile phone forensics and cell phone investigation. A reputable forensic investigator always seeks permission before conducting any investigation. That is why a computer forensics expert can provide evidence that is admissible in court. All the appropriate protocols are followed to ensure the evidence and the chain of evidence will hold up in court.

Investigators may go about their work quietly and in the background, but professional investigators follow the law. We are after the truth and facts, but we get them legally.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations