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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 21, 2016 12:09 PM
From: Representative Warren Kampf
To: All House members
Subject: Computer Forensic Examiners

In the near future I will be introducing legislation to amend the Private Detective Act (Act 361 of 1953) to clarify that computer forensic examiners do not need to be licensed as private detectives in Pennsylvania.

The Private Detective Act requires private investigators and security guard companies to be licensed at the county level, by the Court of Common Pleas. The Act’s basic requirements have not been amended since 1953 and, as evidenced by the requirement that license applicants must have at least three years of prior work experience as a law enforcement officer and the numerous existing exemptions provided for various categories of investigators, it is intended to only apply to traditional private investigators and security guard companies.

Computer forensic examiners apply technical expertise to search computers and digital storage media in a forensically sound manner in order to identify, preserve, recover, analyze and testify about the digital information. While there is some general overlap in the functions of both professionals, a computer forensic examiner does not perform the services of a private investigator and in most cases would not qualify for such a license.

While I am not aware of any instances in which a computer forensic examiner in Pennsylvania was denied the ability to testify or prosecuted for not being licensed under the Act, because the language in the Act is so broad and no specific exemption exists, I believe it is appropriate to clarify the issue at this time.

I hope you will join me in this effort and become a co-sponsor of this legislation.

Introduced as HB2055