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John B. Minor Peer Reviewed Forensic Science Research
John B. Minor's 2019 research paper, "Forensic Cell Site Analysis: Mobile Network Operator Evidence Integrity Maintenance Research," published in the Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law (Vol. 14, Article 5), addresses the critical issue of evidence integrity in forensic cell site analysis. The paper can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.15394/jdfsl.2019.1608.
The importance of this research paper lies in its examination of the challenges faced by mobile network operators (MNOs) in maintaining the integrity of MNO evidence including CDR/CSLI and many other types of evidence produced by service providers, which is crucial for criminal and civil investigations and legal proceedings. The paper highlights the need for standardized procedures and best practices to ensure the reliability and admissibility of MNO evidence in court.
Key points from the paper include:
1. Evidence integrity: Minor (2019) emphasizes the importance of maintaining the integrity of MNO evidence, as it plays a crucial role in establishing the location of mobile devices during criminal and civil investigations. The paper discusses the potential impact of data corruption, manipulation, or loss on the reliability of MNO evidence and the need for MNOs to implement robust data management practices.
2. Data retention policies: The paper highlights the challenges posed by varying data retention policies among MNOs, which can affect the availability of MNO evidence for forensic analysis. Minor (2019) calls for the development of standardized data retention policies to ensure that critical cell site metadata is preserved for an appropriate duration.
3. Standardized procedures: Minor (2019) advocates for the establishment of standardized procedures for the collection, preservation, and analysis of MNO evidence. This includes the use of consistent terminology, documentation, and reporting practices to ensure that MNO evidence is presented in a clear and understandable manner in court.
4. Training and certification: The paper underscores the need for specialized training and certification programs for forensic cell site analysts to ensure that they possess the necessary skills and expertise to accurately interpret MNO evidence. This is particularly important given the complex and rapidly evolving nature of mobile communication technologies.
5. Collaboration between stakeholders: Minor (2019) emphasizes the importance of collaboration between MNOs, law enforcement agencies, and the legal community to develop and implement best practices for forensic cell site analysis. This includes sharing knowledge, resources, and expertise to enhance the overall quality and reliability of MNO evidence.
In conclusion, Minor's (2019) research paper highlights the critical importance of maintaining evidence integrity in forensic cell site analysis and calls for the development of standardized procedures, data retention policies, and training programs to ensure the reliability and admissibility of MNO evidence in court. The paper serves as a valuable resource for MNOs, law enforcement agencies, and the legal community, as it provides insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with forensic cell site analysis.
John B. Minor's 2017 research paper, "Forensic Cell Site Analysis: A Validation & Error Mitigation Methodology," published in the Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law (Vol. 12, Article 7), presents a significant contribution to the field of digital forensics, specifically in the area of cell site analysis. The paper can be accessed via the DOI: https://doi.org/10.15394/jdfsl.2017.1474.
The importance of this research paper lies in its focus on addressing the challenges and limitations associated with forensic cell site analysis, which is a critical aspect of digital forensics investigations. Forensic cell site analysis involves the examination of cellular network data to determine the location of a mobile device during a specific time frame. This information can be crucial in criminal and civil investigations, as it can help establish the whereabouts of a suspect or a victim.
Minor's paper highlights the need for a robust validation and error mitigation methodology in forensic cell site analysis, as the accuracy and reliability of the results can have significant implications for legal proceedings. The paper proposes a methodology that aims to improve the accuracy and reliability of cell site analysis by addressing potential sources of error and uncertainty.
Some key aspects of the proposed methodology include:
1. Validation of the cell site analysis process: Minor emphasizes the importance of validating the entire cell site analysis process, from data acquisition to the interpretation of results. This involves ensuring that the data used in the analysis is accurate, complete, and reliable, and that the analytical methods employed are scientifically sound and appropriate for the specific case.
2. Error mitigation: The paper proposes a systematic approach to identifying and mitigating potential sources of error in cell site analysis. This includes addressing issues related to data quality, such as missing or incomplete data, as well as potential biases and uncertainties in the analysis process.
3. Documentation and reporting: Minor stresses the importance of thorough documentation and reporting of the cell site analysis process, including the validation and error mitigation steps taken. This is crucial for ensuring transparency and reproducibility of the results, as well as for demonstrating the reliability of the analysis in legal proceedings.
4. Training and education: The paper highlights the need for ongoing training and education for forensic cell site analysts, to ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct accurate and reliable analyses.
In conclusion, Minor's 2017 research paper presents a valuable contribution to the field of digital forensics by proposing a validation and error mitigation methodology for forensic cell site analysis. The methodology aims to improve the accuracy and reliability of cell site analysis results, which is crucial for ensuring the integrity of digital forensics investigations and their admissibility in legal proceedings. By addressing potential sources of error and uncertainty, the proposed methodology can help strengthen the scientific basis of forensic cell site analysis and enhance its credibility in the eyes of the legal system.
Radio science is central to forensic cell site analysis even though typically less than 5% of the communications path between subscriber device and mobile switching core consists of a radio connection.
Radio frequencies in use, communications technologies utilized, electromagnetic radiation physics, antenna radiation behaviors and other fundamental signal propagation issues must be considered during an analysis.
Atmospheric science impacts the airgap of mobile network linkage between subscriber device and cell site.
Antenna radiation pattern and coverage extents in mobile subscriber devices such as cell phones and mobile network access points (2G Base Transceiver Station, 3G NodeB, 4G eNodeB, 5G gNodeB) may be affected by heightened solar activity, certain precipitation events, lightning strikes or near strikes, and extremely high winds.
The impact of precipitation events on meteorological electromagnetic scattering can be inferred through modeling or viewed through real-time sensing to assist in analysis of radio frequency path loss prediction.
Space weather, including both pulsed and cyclical events, is often historically available to review for impactful measurement and determination of radio-wave impairments.
These factors commonly affect mobile network operation and radio-wave propagation. Atmospheric impact can reduce, block, destabilize or skew cell site coverage.
Photonic science is the foundation of the communications transportation infrastructure utilized in more than 95% of the communications path between subscriber device and mobile switching core.
Interruption or congestion in segments of the photonic network (the major component of the network of networks identified as the Internet) used as backhaul between cell sites and mobile switching core may disrupt or reroute communications, resulting in intermittent re-pathing, often manifested as slowdowns or interruptions in mobile communications that result in dropped calls, out of sequence communications events, or other anomalies.
Wave propagation science has a direct bearing on how radio signals propagate between subscriber device and cell site.
The wave function is a key feature of quantum mechanics and radio wave scintillations including reflection, diffraction, refraction, absorption, and other scattering of radio signal propagation at various frequencies, affected by objects in the path between a subscriber device and cell site, determine the extent and quality of cell coverage.
Defined as manmade or naturally occurring objects varying in density and height, morphologies include vegetal, geographic, buildings or other structures, streets, waterways, and much more. Morphologies impact wave propagation and thereby cell site coverage. Antenna wave propagation behaviors must be considered during an analysis.
Metrology, the science of measurement, is utilized in forensic cell site analysis to elevate the accuracy of analytical outcomes.
An obvious example is the use of time and frequency measurements in performing radio surveys for mobile network testing.
Conducted versus Over-the-Air metrology is crucial to understanding the quality and hardiness of base station installations and the likelihood that subscribers will experience stable performance.
Conducted measurements (wired/photonic) such as reflected power, transmitted power, insertion loss, gain, distance to fault, and cable loss power measurements are critical to determining the health of base station feeder and backhaul cables. These cable connections degrade with weather exposure and aging. Initial installation or upgrade issues raise the question of testing for crossed-feeder cable connections at base stations, which not only affect the performance of the mobile network but also result in erroneous Charging Data Record entries that, when used as evidence in civil or criminal litigation, may result in high human or financial cost.
OTA radio spectrum monitoring and interference detection, functional testing and antenna measurements are critical to the ability of cell phones to detect base station signals and connect to the mobile network. Degraded OTA performance will impact quality of service, handoff, dropped calls and detected service outages are critical to determining forensic analysis outcomes.
Examples of theoretical propagation and coverage calculations include use of several methodologies including Okumura–Hata Model, COST 231–Walﬁsh–Ikegami Model, COST 207 GSM Model, ITU-R Models, 3GPP Spatial Channel Model, ITU-Advanced Channel Model, and 802.15.4a UWB Channel Model.
Computer science is fundamental to how the network elements that comprise the mobile network function and how accurately the MNO/MVNO subscriber device activities are logged to eventually become evidence in criminal or civil litigation. A thorough understanding of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, addressing schemes, composition of the Internet including network elements, switched packet flow, and routing protocols is essential to understanding both computer and photonic sciences. An understanding of peering, transit and service level agreements enhances understanding and lucidity regarding potential pathing issues that sometimes result in communications session sequencing irregularities.
Learn About the History of Mobile Networks, Antenna Types & 5G UDN
Learn About Antenna Basics
Meet the Science
of Forensic Mobile Network Analysis
Six areas of science must be considered during analysis of
Mobile Network Evidence which includes, among other evidence,
CDR/CSLI (Call Detail Records/Cell Site Location Information)
Radio Science (How Radio Signals Propagate or Travel between Cell Sites & Cell Phones)
Atmospheric Science (How Surface and Space Weather Affects Radio Signals)
Photonics Science (Photons or Light Particles are Over 95% of the Signal Path Between Cell Sites & Cell Phones)
Wave Propagation Science (Radio Wave Behavior Includes Reflection, Refraction, Diffraction, and Absorption of Radio Signals Traveling Between Cell Phones & Cell Sites)
Metrology Science (Measurements are Important in Forensics - Radio & Photonic Signal Measurements Matter)
Computer Science (All 4G/5G Mobile Network Traffic Flows Through the Internet, Using Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Packets)
Intellectual Property of John B. Minor © All Rights Reserved · Reproduction Prohibited
Intellectual Property of John B. Minor © All Rights Reserved