The Internet Protocol Address (IP Address) is one of the core components of the Internet. All computers or devices communicate through the IP Address that is allotted either on a Static or Dynamic basis. This is the reason why Law Enforcement Agencies throughout the World use IP Address to trace a Cyber Criminal or Accused.
An IP Address may not be what it appears to be on the first look. For instance, IP Address Spoofing may also be involved in many cases. This is the reason why we cannot reply solely upon an IP Address to convict a Cyber Criminal or Accused.
However, this starting point cannot be ignored while conducting a Cyber Crime Investigation. In India as well Law Enforcement Agencies have been using Cyber Forensics Techniques to solve various cases. For instance, Cyber Forensics Analysis of Nokia’s Computer used to download software in India is presently in progress. In many cases the Cyber Forensics Investigation is not done properly and this results in loosing of crucial Evidence.
IP Address Tracking for E-Mails is the most common form of exercise in this field. Most E-Mail Providers provide useful Headers Information in the received field. However, there are some E-Mail Services Providers like Gmail that substitute their own IP Address for the sender’s IP address. In that case a person has to approach Google through Legal or Judicial Mode to get the relevant information. The present procedure of Google to obtain information is “Time Consuming” and “Cumbersome” in nature and Google must urgently act to make the same “Justice and Victim Friendly”.
Other incidences of IP tracking may involve Cloud Computing Incidences, Social Media Investigations, E-Discovery Requests, etc. Every such IP tracking exercise is different from each other and a different set of procedure is applicable to each of them. There is no universally applicable procedure for all IP Address tracking exercises.
The starting point is to look at the Terms and Conditions and Policies of the Website or Services that you are using and comply with the requirements to get information from that platform. In many case a judicial intervention is required. It is of utmost significance that Judicial Orders must be appropriate and relevant for the investigation. A casual or general judicial order would not serve the purpose.
For getting a Supportive and Conducive Judicial Order the Attorney must draft the Plaint/Petition properly reflecting all the Facts and Requested Remedies in clear and unambiguous terms. The Judicial Order cannot serve any purpose if it is Defective, Vague and Deficient on the aspects and evidences to be requested through it.
The most crucial aspect about gathering Electronic Evidences is that they are “Time Sensitive” and “Fragile” in nature. The more time you spend in getting them the lesser are the actual chances of obtaining the same. In short, acting at the earliest possible period of time is the best practice to get the best Digital Evidence.