Houston Computer Forensics Expert Is Fresh Face in Old Profession – Reinvents Career as ‘New Age’ Private Investigator
HOUSTON, TX, January 14, 2009 – A Houston computer forensics expert has changed his career in a surprising way. Gary Huestis is now a licensed private investigator for the state of the Texas.
Huestis, who is well-known in local computer IT circles, represents the new face of an old profession. “My new career path was literally born of the computer and Internet age,” said Huestis. “I am the last person in the world most people think would ever become a private investigator.”
The Private Security Board of the Texas Department of Public Safety recently licensed Huestis as a private investigator. He owns Houston-based EDiscovery Forensics, Inc. Since 1995, Huestis has also owned Houston Computing Services, a computer repair company.
Much of his computer forensic work is conducted for law firms.
“More than 90% of the world’s business is conducted on computers,” said Huestis, “and lawsuits develop from the information stored on those computers.”
What does a private investigator – who is also a computer forensics specialist – do every day?
“Well, you won’t find me dressing like Sherlock Holmes or chasing criminals down dark alleys,” he laughs. “You’ll likely see me sitting in front of a computer searching for digital evidence – information the guilty party never intended for anybody to find.”
There is a word for the type of detective work Huestis does. “It’s called ‘e-discovery’. E-discovery is the discovery of digital evidence attorneys can use in a court of law"
Huestis’ new professional status comes because the state of Texas updated a law in 2007. Known as the “Private Security Act,” the law acquired a new clause specifying that anyone who gathers information from a computer that could potentially be used in a legal proceeding must also be licensed as a private investigator. A licensed private investigator must study for and pass a rigorous exam in order to be licensed.
Huestis is one of the few computer forensic experts in Houston who is also a private investigator.
The Houston computer expert said he discovers legal evidence on every manner of digital storage device, including:
• E-mail servers
• Hard drives
• Web Servers
• Backup storage media
• Zip drives
• Digital answering machines
• Cell phones
• Digital cameras
• USB Flash drives
“Numbers erased from a cell phone are not erased at all,” he said. “Typically, they’re still on the phone’s memory – safe and sound – waiting for a professional like me to find them.” He said one way attorneys use this digital information is to prove two people know each other, even when one of them denies it.”
“What I do is based on this simple truth: files are not deleted like most people think. When a file is deleted, the space is marked available for new data to be stored there, but the original data remains until the space is actually used.”
Huestis said there are real dangers when a business seeks to save money by enlisting the office IT guy to conduct a computer forensics investigation.
“Unless that IT guy is also a licensed private investigator – and most are not – none of the information he uncovers will be admissible in court. Further,” he says, “the IT guy and the business owner could face misdemeanor charges for violating the Texas Private Security Act.”
For more information about Houston-based eDiscovery Forensics, Inc., visit the company’s website, www.ediscoveryforensics.com or call Gary Huestis at 832-230-2851, for a free consultation.
About Gary Huestis –
Gary Huestis, owner of Ediscovery Forensics, Inc, is an EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE), the most widely recognized certification a forensic computer specialist can earn. Only a handful of these forensic computer specialists live and work in Houston. According to Guidance Software, the company that designs computer investigative software for the law enforcement community, fewer than 1,000 computer specialists worldwide have earned EnCase credentials. Huestis began his career in 1988, as a systems engineer for Houston computer giant Compaq Computer Corporation, where he configured, tested and debugged hardware and software before it was shipped to retailers. After a massive company restructuring in 2000, he turned his part-time job as an IT expert into a fulltime career as owner of Houston Computing Services, a company he founded in 1995.
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