Need for digital forensic literacy in the humanities and in the public debate

During the day of the second, decisive election round for the French Presidency in 2017, where potentially the European Union’s future is at stake, the story of the hack of Emmanuel Macron’s team and a following leak (#MacronLeak) sweeps the WWW, the professional journalist media and the social media. These have been obviously strategically targeted to cause uncertainty, delegitimise the democratic process and potentially even to spread disinformation. It is interesting that preliminary critical evaluations of the leaked digital material and speculations about the way it has been disseminated throughout the social media involve aspects of digital forensic analysis. The thorough analysis of this incident and the materials will take much longer and it is at the moment unclear whether the whodunit-and-why question will be answered beyond a good guess.

The tendency that leaks of stolen born digital material are being used by anonymous parties to manipulate electoral campaigns might be worrying, but instead of calling out on digital arms (for a more balanced perspective, see also “Bots unter Generalverdacht“ by Gregor Weichbrodt), I am more interested in the long term research perspective for the humanities that opens up here.

Workshop Screencast

Image credit: Screenshot from the Youtube video posted on Parthenos:

Photo credit: Thorsten Ries.1

Participants of my workshop “Introduction to Digital Forensics, Hard Drive Philology” (Ottawa, Edmonton) can download a screencast about our hands-on section. If I didn’t have your email address yet, please let me know so I can provide you with the link to the full screencast.

An intro is available here.


My personal website has been relaunched in the course of setting everything to SSL (with the help of letsencrypt). I wanted to use the opportunity to start over with my site, and be more consistent in my choice of blog topics.