August 2, 2021

WhatsApp messages are consolidated as judicial evidence for companies


Madrid

Updated:

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The use of messaging systems in companies As is WhatsApp, they are increasingly present, either for company employees to communicate with each other or to support a client, it is also constituted as evidence of judicial processes at the time, for example claim labor abuse or one irregularity for a purchase or service. However, the authenticity of instant messaging must be demonstrated for admission to trial, a delicate procedure that only computer experts specialized in WhatsApp can undertake. According to him
Forensic Electronics Laboratory
(LEF), “it is not enough to present the verbatim transcripts and the captures of the conversations”, since only the “presentation of an expert opinion” gives them judicial validity.

42,000 million texts are sent every day and 1,850 million photos and videos through WhatsApp, a messaging application that last year exceeded 93% of users among those who have a Smartphone in Spain, according to the Household Panel of the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC). However, criminal activities are the order of the day in the Instant messages, being recognized as evidence in criminal proceedings, as well as SMS and emails.

Article 299.2 of the Civil Procedure Law, of January 7, 2000, underlines the acceptance, as evidence, of the “means of reproduction of the word, sound and image”, including the iInstruments used to store and communicate such media. For this reason, WhatsApp has been involved in renowned processes, such as the Bárcenas case, where conversations with this former Huelva politician led to his imprisonment, or the Pistorius case, which involved a South African athlete whose WhatsApp strengthened the accusation for the murder of Reeve Steemkamp.

To be used in court, WhatsApp messages must meet a series of requirements, and failure to comply with some of them can inevitably lead to their dismissal. Thus, the WhatsApp must have been obtained legally, presented in its entirety and – most importantly – must be authentic.

From the Forensic Electronics Laboratory, with years of experience by its forensic experts in the expertise of telecommunications and computing, they explain that “people believe that it is enough to present verbatim transcripts and captures of conversations, or they also believe that such transcripts are made in front of a public notary. This is erroneous for several reasons, because they could be manipulated and it is mandatory to authenticate them by a computer and telecommunications expert specialized in the matter.

In essence, “the presentation of an expert opinion before the courts is a task in which it must be shown that WhatsApp messages have not been manipulated,” they continue. For the ratification of these conversations, the Vigo company uses tools employed in the Security Forces and Bodies, which also allow them to extract messages that have been removed from the application, regardless of the device or system used (Android, Apple, Blackberry, Windows Phone).

Since the start of the pandemic, cybercrimes have soared by 59%, according to the Cybernetic Center of the National Police, and a high percentage of them are committed under the cover of the most used instant messaging network in the world, WhatsApp. Of the know-how of computer experts it depends, today more than ever, that justice is done.

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