Europol, Eurojust and the European Judicial Network has on 22 December published the 2022 edition of the SIRIUS European Union (EU) Digital Evidence Situation Report. This report includes the results of SIRIUS’ research on experiences of EU Member States’ competent authorities, as well as Online Service Providers (OSPs), with cross-border access to digital evidence in criminal investigations. The report confirms that the need for cross-border digital evidence is on the rise.
The report reflects on the complexity of cross-border investigations involving digital evidence, offering extensive feedback from officials of EU Member States’ law enforcement and judicial authorities. It shows that there was a 36% increase in the volume of requests for data to OSPs in 2021, while the number of Emergency Disclosure Requests increased by 29%. The success cases presented in this report also show how digital evidence is crucial in all crime areas.
The SIRIUS platform remains the leading source of knowledge
The report confirms that the SIRIUS platform, hosted on the Europol Platform for Experts, remains the number one source of information for law enforcement and judicial practitioners seeking know-how in relation to data acquisition methods in cross-border circumstances.
Ongoing technological transformation
While the relevance of Online Gaming Platforms in criminal investigations is stable, there is growing concern that technology linked to the metaverse will pose considerable challenges for law enforcement in the near future. For instance, the use of the metaverse is conceptually different from existing mainstream platforms, meaning that user behaviour could become more important than user generated content in future investigations.
The need for strengthening capacity and mutual trust
Advances in technology and the ever-expanding digital landscape are the sources of many challenges, including the risk of losing digital data and difficulties in establishing the applicable jurisdiction. For judicial and law enforcement practitioners to tackle these challenges successfully, they will need to join forces, share knowledge and commit to daily interoperability. These collaborative efforts will lead to a ‘toolbox’ of shared investigative and prosecutorial solutions that aim to evolve in tandem with legislative developments. The SIRIUS project has received funding from the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy (FPI) under contribution agreement No PI/2020/417-500.
The report can be downloaded here.