Category Archives: Enhanced Reflections

Who’s Using Amped Software?

Very often when potential customers are researching products, a pretty common question they ask us is “who’s using your software?”. We take privacy and security very seriously, and we don’t publish customers’ names or logos without their permission. This permission, for public safety and national security organizations, is actually quite hard to get by official means or takes way too long. So we are rarely nominating users and cases explicitly.

In this post, we are sharing some aggregated data you may find interesting. It is being published in December 2021, so if you are reading this later, the numbers will likely be higher.

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Amped FIVE Does Not Use A.I. And Implements Forensically Safe Algorithms to Enhance Video Evidence

TL;DR

In recent days, following the media attention on the Kenosha Shooting trial (“STATE OF WISCONSIN – VS – Kyle H. Rittenhouse”) in which Amped FIVE has been used for evidence analysis, a previous article on this blog about the use of Artificial Intelligence on image and video forensics has been misunderstood and instrumentalized.

The applicability of image interpolation and image enhancement at large as evidence in court has been discussed, sometimes without the needed in-depth knowledge of the field.

In this article, we will clarify some very important concepts related to forensic video analysis at large and Amped FIVE.

1) Amped FIVE does NOT use Artificial Intelligence

Amped FIVE has been designed specifically for evidentiary use. It does not use Artificial Intelligence: image and video enhancement in Amped FIVE are implemented in a forensic workflow based on carefully selected algorithms that guarantee reliability, repeatability, and reproducibility. Thanks to this, Amped FIVE has become widely accepted as the standard tool for forensic image and video analysis, being used in 100 countries worldwide.

2) Interpolation DOES NOT TAMPER with the image

We need interpolation to show things as they are: interpolation is not only used to “zoom on” an image, but it is an essential part of the creation and display of a digital photo or video. Interpolation does not add image information, but improves visualization of image data 1,2,3. Questioning the general acceptability of interpolation means questioning the acceptability of images and videos as evidence.

3) Image enhancements performed by a competent analyst with the right tools are INSTRUMENTAL FOR COURT USE

An analyst with the right tools, technical preparation, and workflow can enhance the image in a way that can help the trier of fact and be accepted in court. Image enhancement is a fundamental part of forensic video analysis and it’s the duty of the forensic video analyst to properly enhance images and videos to give a more accurate representation of the scene, compensating, when possible, the imperfections introduced by the image generation process.

We hope this new take on the argument will help to better comprehend the topic and will clarify some of the misinterpretations of the original post. And if you want to learn more on these topics, please keep reading!

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Can AI Be Used for Forensics and Investigations?

ATTENTION! Following the media attention on the Kenosha Shooting trial, this post about the use of AI on evidence analysis has been distorted. Take a look at why Amped FIVE does not use A.I., interpolation is a fundamental part of image DISPLAY and ENHANCEMENT (not tampering), and forensically sound algorithms are safe for use as evidence in court HERE »

Introduction

I’ve always been quite skeptical about the use of AI for forensics and investigations, as you may have seen in some of my older posts. In recent years most of the advancements in image and video enhancement, analysis, authentication, and tampering detection have been based on AI techniques. I don’t think we can exclude anymore anything which has something to do with AI, but it should be handled with extreme care. In this article, I will explain why in some contexts AI may be acceptable for forensics if used within some tight boundaries and safeguards.

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What Science Gives Us and What We Give to Science

Amped Software has its roots in academic research, and the first prototype of Amped FIVE actually started with my master’s thesis project in Electronic Engineering. In this article, I want to talk a bit about the relationship between Amped Software and science, the scientific method, and scientific research. As the title suggests, we’ll discuss what science gives to Amped and what Amped is giving back to scientific fields such as multimedia forensics, forensic video analysis, and forensic image and video enhancement. Curious? Keep reading!

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Introducing Enhanced Reflections: Random Thoughts by Martino

In the past few years, I didn’t have much time to write here, and my colleagues have been writing most of the posts on technical matters. With many big changes in the industry, and in the world at large, I thought it was time to go back to writing in first person, about something more than just technical aspects, to offer our users a better insight into what we do, how we do it and, most importantly, why we do it.

The Beginnings

I will briefly introduce myself to the newcomers to this blog. My name’s Martino Jerian, and I am CEO and Founder of Amped Software. I’ve been working on image and video forensics since 2005, when I started my dissertation in Electronic Engineering at the University of Trieste, Italy, writing the prototype of what later became Amped FIVE.

I don’t think I ever said it publicly, but basically, my idea was to create for the forensic community what Photoshop was for the creative professionals. So, I started with a very simple and clear objective: creating the ultimate tool for image and video processing needs for forensic and investigative purposes. It was an ambitious idea for a random Italian guy barely out of the university, but it turned out that being a hopeless optimist helped a bit. I knew very clearly where I wanted to go, but I didn’t have any idea how. 

Our tagline has been for a while “Setting the Standard for Image and Video Forensics”. While it is a demanding purpose, I think it describes quite well our direction and current position.

For Techies…

One thing I’m very proud of is how our team continues to share and educate our users and the public in general on the topics of video evidence and multimedia forensics.

Our blog articles and YouTube channel have always been an extremely valuable free resource for all of our users. Together with the various social media channels and the newsletter, they have helped grow our community and act as a dynamic knowledge base.

I often receive positive feedback about the effectiveness of our content for learning the ins and outs of our tools and the proper forensic workflow.

If you have a question, need a tip to get something unusual accomplished, or you have an issue to solve, likely the solution is already on our blog, with more than 550 articles published from 2007 until today.

One of the lesser-known features, but which I am very proud of, is the BIG LIST page where all the posts are listed by category for easy skimming and searching (officially listed as “Posts by Category”). It’s incredible how much of the material posted years ago is still very current. Recently I’ve found myself sharing this article from 2011, and this other one from 2014, which I see it’s currently the third most popular post.

… But For Humans Too

Most of the content we write is pretty technical. There’s no doubt we have the most complete tools on the market for image and video forensics. However, what I think makes up the difference is not much the product itself, but the people working on it, providing technical support, and interacting with customers and partners. We do not have organizations working with other organizations, but people working with people. We are (mostly) geeks, but what makes us different is our human side and the interaction with the user at each level.

I wanted to add a bit more of human touch to this blog, writing less technical content but still relevant for our industry. This week I decided to launch this new column, called “Enhanced Reflections”, which is a pretty obvious joke on the famous magic enhancements of the various series a-là CSI, whose miseducation we had to fight against since our beginnings.

Our industry is usually a bit secretive, given the field, we are working in it’s always better to be careful. On the other hand, we do forensics, and forensics should be based on science, and science should be transparent. So, I’ll also take this opportunity to add some context to our job.

It won’t be a regular weekly series like our very successful Tip Tuesday or Video Evidence Pitfalls, but I will write articles when I think there’s something interesting to write about. Topics will be quite various, I may speak about the ins and outs of our company, about the industry in general, or about other relevant topics. My blog posts may also be a bit more opinionated than what you usually see here, though I always try to be as objective as possible.

Follow this series to learn more. See you soon!