» Accreditation of capture and preservation of data from mobile devices – clarification

30 July, 2019

UKAS has accredited organisations for the capture and preservation of data from mobile devices since 2008.  This accreditation is conducted by assessment using ISO/IEC 17025 and ILAC G19 and in line with the FSR’s codes of practice and conduct.  Due to the design and functionality of mobile devices at the time that accreditation was first granted, the extraction and analysis of data was inherently incorporated within the accreditation schedule entry for ‘Logical or Physical Capture and Preservation of Data’.  This policy currently remains in force and, for the avoidance of doubt, this means that an organisation accredited for Logical or Physical Capture and Preservation of Data from mobile phones is, by default, also accredited to undertake the extraction and analysis of the data.

Mobile devices are, however, increasingly operating in a manner similar to computers and there have been discussions both within UKAS and with key stakeholders as to whether there is a need to revise accreditation schedule entries to reflect the descriptors that are used for computers, which have ‘Extraction and Analysis’ included as a separate entry.

During 2018 it was noted that one forensic service provider, IntaForensics Ltd, had a schedule entry for ‘extraction and analysis’ included as a separate descriptor under mobile devices.  When this anomaly was highlighted, the schedule entry for ‘extraction and analysis’ was removed so that it was consistent with the standardised wording used for other laboratories undertaking identical activities. UKAS would like to provide reassurance that the removal of this descriptor from the schedule was in no way linked to any form of sanction being imposed and did not in any way indicate that IntaForensics are not competent to undertake ‘extraction and analysis’.