Mar 18

Semantic Levels and Computer Evidence

Semantic Levels

As I had explained here, I consider there is a meaning construction, from magnetic fields in the surface of a disk to high level facts we can map to real world, when we talk about computer evidence. This contruction occurs in steps and every step involves a semiosis, up to high level facts.

It is in this last level in which a judge can render them into the final award applying all the arguments presented by the parties and regulations that rule the process.

There’s a state of opinion that defends that computer evidence that has been blessed by digital signature can slip into the process without the intervention of an expert witness: it can be treated as a document.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that computer documents do not deserve this. But I am not talking about word processor or PDF files here, documents that have a meaning by themselves into the procedure. We are talking about something like a log file. And in general, I consider a log file a computer evidence, not a document.

In my oppinion this may lead to the following problem:

The judge works in a semantic level in which there exist high level facts (someone did something). But the kind of computer evidence that some propose to push into the process is (as I said) something like a log file (there was a connection from this ip).

If this evidence gets into the process alone, who is going to extract meaning from it?

The expert witness’ work includes challenging the evidence universe for coherence. How are the coherence webs going to be stressed for resistance if evidences are introduced isolated?

Who is going to build the coherence scaffolding that has to give support to the parties’ arguments?

The attorneys?

I would like to have answers to these questions. And an example, please :-)

It is true that there’s a problem in the foundations of the pilars that build the whole structure: the lack of trusted methods to go from the most basic semantic layers up in the meaning ladder.

But this issue will have to wait a little bit more.