Investigators at the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) are using more digital forensics, and the increased use of corporate data on cloud-based services or web applications is one reason for the change, a senior official at the regulator told PaRR.

The amount of digital data needing analysis is growing every day, a second senior JFTC official said. The use of forensics makes investigations efficient and effective, he added.

With technology, companies are increasingly saving data and employees are communicating through a variety of formats, the first official said.

The JFTC has requested an increase in the allocated budget for the management of digital forensics data in the coming fiscal year of 2016-17, a third senior JFTC official said. It is asking the government for an allocation of JPY 26.67m to be invested in building a system to manage the digital evidence gathered.

In the current fiscal year ending 31 March 2016, the regulator had allocated JPY 24.76m (USD 206,700) for the same.

There are no immediate plans to increase the number of forensic experts at the JFTC, a fourth senior JFTC official said. Of the seven member team of experts, two originally were with audit firms, and have been with the enforcer for more than two years, he said, adding that more expert help would be requested “as needed”.

The regulator downloads a large amount of data from the computers of companies under investigation and even confiscates cell phones during investigations, said the first JFTC official.

Digital forensics is used in all antitrust investigations to analyse data in various formats found in documents and devices, while keeping the integrity of the original data intact, he said. The authority also checks for deleted files on computers and servers in all onsite inspections, he said.