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The rise of technology and online communication has produced an increase in the incidence of criminal activity, and it has also resulted in the emergence of what appears to be some new varieties of criminal activity. Both the increase in the incidence of criminal activity and the possible emergence of new varieties of criminal activity pose challenges for legal systems, as well as for law enforcement. 

The threat needs to be dealt within the framework of the global challenge posed to criminal justice by the development and widespread use of new technologies. The digitalization of our daily life produces electronic data and electronic traces which can be identified as evidences to be used and evaluated during pre-trial procedures as well as within court proceedings. Electronic evidence is fundamental not only in those cases where cybercrimes are involved but also in all other crimes. 

A new tool available to judges and lawyers has appeared: electronic evidence. This is an instrument that, little by little, is starting to become a part of our daily life and is acquiring, increasing importance in lawsuits. It can be affirmed that traditional evidence is migrating from paper supporting documents towards a virtual environment and its management processes and criteria for admissibility are changing with respect to traditional evidence. Considering major inconveniences with electronic evidence: 

  • scant jurisprudence
  • necessity for specific knowledge not only to understand the nature of the electronic evidence but also how to process the data and how to interpret specific processing laws
  • difficulty to present electronic evidence at court in an understandable manner
  • difficulty electronic evidence to be accepted at court where judges ask for more guarantees than with traditional evidence
  • lack of technical infrastructure in judicial departments
  • high cost of examining and interpreting the information
  • difficulty in proving authenticity, reliability and origin of data
  • volatility of data and ease of manipulation
  • difficulty in identifying the perpetrator of the crime
  • difficulty in conserving, preserving and storing electronic data
  • difficulty in establishing the legal value of the electronic evidence
  • lack of legal support and certification models several needs to be met arise:
  • need for a common and shared understanding on electronic evidence
  • need for a common European legal scenario on electronic evidence
  • need for a common perception and reliability on electronic evidence by stakeholders
  • need for an efficient fight against high-tech crimes
  • need for a criminal procedure and criminal investigation regulation to face globalization of crime.


In order to overcome the above cited gaps and to respond to the listed needs EVIDENCE aims at realizing the following objectives:


Objective 1: Tracing EVIDENCE Road Map for the realization of a Common European Legal Framework for using, collecting and exchanging electronic evidence including a research agenda identifying issues, policies and actions to be undertaken in future programs and plans. 

Objective 2: Developing a common and shared understanding on what electronic evidence is and which are the relevant concepts of electronic evidence in involved domains and related fields (digital forensic, criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal international cooperation). 

Objective 3: Detecting which are rules and criteria utilized for processing electronic evidence in EU Member States, and eventually how is the exchange of evidence regulated. 

Objective 4: Detecting of the existence of criteria and standards for guaranteeing reliability,integrity and chain of custody requirement of electronic evidence in the EU Member States and eventually in the exchange of it. 

Objective 5: Defining operational and ethical implications for Law Enforcement Agencies all over Europe. 

Objective 6: Identifying and developing technological functionalities for a Common European Framework in gathering and exchanging electronic evidence. 

Objective 7: Seizing the EVIDENCE market.


EVIDENCE Consortium consists of 9 partners from 7 different European Member States:
  • National Research Council (CNR), Italy
  • University of Groningen (RUG), Netherlands
  • The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
  • Leibniz Universit√§t Hannover (LUH), Germany
  • Laboratory of Citizenship Sciences (LSC), Italy
  • University of Malta (UOM), Malta
  • Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)
  • Law and Internet Foundation (LIF), Bulgaria
  • Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (CETIC), Belgium

Last Updated: 1 February 2017

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