Projects, Units & Initiatives
Founded in 2013, The Legal Aid Society’s Digital Forensics Unit uses technology to advocate for our clients in the courtroom, and fight against government surveillance and the erosion of digital privacy rights. The DFU was created in recognition that, as the largest public defender in New York City, The Legal Aid Society needed an internal unit that would be able to acquire, process, and analyze the vast amount of digital evidence that exists in the modern world. Consisting of three analysts, two senior analysts, four staff attorneys, one paralegal, and one supervising attorney, the DFU supports the work of the attorneys and clients of the Criminal Defense, Juvenile Rights, and Civil Practices of The Legal Aid Society.
Using industry-leading tools, the Unit assists attorneys in interpreting evidence from personal computers, mobile devices, cloud storage, and social media accounts. Additionally, analysts interpret cell-site location data, edit and enhance video recordings, and consult on other areas of emerging technology. The DFU provides trial preparation and litigation support to attorneys and advises them on the numerous ways that law enforcement uses technology to conduct surveillance on the public.
The Digital Forensics Unit has also been involved in fighting against violations of privacy and other core civil liberties. Members of the Unit continue to fight against law enforcement’s unregulated use of facial recognition technology, drones, and automated license plate readers, among other challenges. DFU attorneys have advocated for stronger privacy rights for all people and to prevent overreaching government intrusion.
Last Updated: 11 September 2023
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