Forensic data exchange: ensuring integrity

Carole McCartney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A growing chorus of forensic professionals believe that forensic science has undersold its potential contribution to crime reduction and has a more significant role to play in policing, with collation and analysis of forensic information used to inform policing tactics, operations or strategy. Domestic law enforcement agencies, as producers, consumers and purveyors of forensic information and intelligence, are also responding to political pressures to expand and accelerate their technological abilities to gather and disseminate forensic information and intelligence within expanding operational boundaries. For example, there are a number of agreements that promise the automated exchange of forensic data internationally, in particular: fingerprints and DNA profiles, and many that share other law enforcement information via a variety of channels. However, there is yet to be any detailed consideration of the multi-faceted issues raised by the production of forensic intelligence, and the impact of direct access and/or exchanges of forensic intelligence. While technologies are increasingly interoperable, traditional parameters restraining law enforcement information sharing are increasingly inadequate. The lack of oversight of the transnational flows of law enforcement information mean that current processes lack transparency and, consequently, citizens’ ability to know of, understand, and challenge exchanges of their data is almost non-existent. Yet the expectation is that the power to generate, gather, store and share forensic intelligence will be used with integrity. Integrity is essential for generalised trust among not just the direct consumers of forensic intelligence, but the public. For the integrity of forensic intelligence to be maintained, critical attention must be paid not only to the viability of forensic intelligence production and sharing, but also to its legitimacy and acceptability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date12 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


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