Can you trust what you show in Court?

If you present an object, an image, or a story to a courtroom, you must be able to trust that it is accurate.

How then, do you trust an image – a digital photograph, a snapshot in time of an object, a person or a scene? Do you trust what the photographer says? Or do you check it? Do you attempt to identify any signs of manipulation that could cast doubt on the weight of the evidence?

How many members of the public are aware of the Digital Imaging Procedure? What about the guidance surrounding computer based information, which includes digital images and video? What about the person that is receiving that file? Perhaps the investigating officer. Are they aware of the importance of image authentication?

Is the Criminal Justice System naive to believe that fake images do not end up being displayed in court and presented as truth? Even if it is a rarity now, we need to think of the future. To start with, we must ask ourselves, “Can we rely on the image we see before us? Has it been authenticated?”

Read the article published by The Barrister magazine to learn about the importance of authenticating images before submitting them as evidence.

From cameras to the court: How to make full video integration a reality

David Spreadborough, international trainer at Amped Software, and a regular expert witness in criminal investigations, charts the technical history of bringing CCTV images to court and provides an insight into the challenges associated with preparing surveillance images as evidence.

Read the article published on IFSEC Global

 

Amped FIVE Update 9722: Genetec Omnicast G64/G64X Support, Full Uncompressed AVI Export Compatibility, Filter Panel Options and much, much more!

Here we are again with another Amped FIVE update, full of user enhancements and product refinements, designed to help you in your analysis and forensic reporting.

Before we dive in, it’s worth saying that, here at Amped we strive to provide you with the very best product for image and video analysis, and enhancement. If you want our software to do something that it doesn’t do, just let us know. Many of the new functions in this update come directly from user feedback and requests.

Genetec File Support

Genetec is the latest surveillance system manufacturer to allow integration between the export format and forensic analysis.

Currently utilizing the .G64 and .G64X file extensions, most Genetec exports can now either be reformatted using the original H264 encoding or, when this is not possible due to the export type, transcoded into .ASF to aid in initial analysis and preview.

When you load a Genetec export into Amped FIVE, either using the loader or drag and drop, the Direct Play dialogue box will appear.

After selecting ‘Yes’ to attempt conversion, ensure that ‘Copy Stream if possible, or else Transcode’ is selected in Convert DVR.

The file will then be scanned and either reformatted or transcoded if required.

There is a new configuration tab specifically for Genetec G64 and G64X files.

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To seize or to retrieve: that is the question

A crime occurs and is “witnessed” by a digital CCTV system. The files that your investigation wants/needs are in the system’s recording device (DVR). What do you do to get them? Do you seize the entire DVR as evidence (“bag and tag”)? Do you try to access the recorder through its user interface and download/export/save the files to USB stick/drive or other removable media?

Answer: it depends.

There are times when you’d want to seize the DVR. Perhaps 5% of cases will present a situation where having the DVR in the lab is necessary:

  • Arsons/fires can turn a DVR into a bunch of melted down parts. You’re obviously not going to power up a melted DVR.
  • An analysis that tests how the DVR performs and creates files. For example, does the frame timing represent the actual elapsed time or how the DVR fit that time into its container? Such tests of reliability will require access to the DVR throughout the legal process.
  • Content analysis questions where there’s a difference of opinion between object/artifact. For example, is it a white sticker on the back of a car or an artifact of compression (random bit of noise)?

If you’re taking a DVR from a location, you can follow the guidance of the computer forensics world on handling the DVR (which is a computer) and properly removing it from the scene.

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Amped has a Chat with Forensic Video Expert, George Reis

We love learning about our users. We are always interested to hear your views about the world of image and video forensics, what your challenges are, and especially finding out about your interest in books, gardening and maybe even dancing!  If you are interested in sharing your story, contact us for a chat!

George Reis, an expert photographer turned forensic image and video expert, and now the owner of Imaging Forensics, tells us how many fruit trees and vegetables he has in his garden and his love for reading and dancing! But he also shares his thoughts about the challenges of DVR systems and what he thinks the future of image and video forensics will look like.

I have known George for many years. He helped us a lot during the development and testing of our tools. Not only did he request a lot of useful features that have been added to Amped FIVE and Amped Authenticate, but he also tested the software thoroughly, reporting bugs and various little details that we had missed during development. To tell you the truth, to implement all the features he asked for means we would need to double or triple our team… but it’s good to be pushed to the limit. Thanks to George and people like him, we have a very rich roadmap for the next few years.


George, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background and can you tell us about your company?

I am the owner of Imaging Forensics, a company that provides forensic video analysis, photography analysis, and photography. Imaging Forensics also provides training in these disciplines.

Prior to entering forensics, my background was in photography, primarily in the field of photojournalism. I was then hired by the Newport Beach (CA) Police Department as a forensic photographer. My duties expanded into the areas of photographic enhancement and video analysis in the early to mid-1990s, when all security video was analog on VHS tape.

I retired from the police department in 2004 to make Imaging Forensics a full-time venture.

What made you decide to enter the field of multimedia forensics?

I got into forensics in general, and forensic video analysis specifically, by accident. In the late 1980s, I was a freelance photographer and business was slow. I answered a newspaper classified ad for a “police photographer” with the intention of using it to stabilize my income, then returning to the freelance field. But, I found forensics much more interesting and rewarding than I expected.

In 1992 I began experimenting with digital photography and enhancement of fingerprints. And, around 1995, our video producer asked me if I’d like to work on some security camera video and I then took over those duties.

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Altered images: The challenge of identifying fake photographs

Fake photographs have been around for almost as long as the camera, but in a digital age of photography, the ability to alter images has never been easier. EU Forensic Video Expert David Spreadborough examines the current challenges surrounding authenticating images.

Thanks to the latest administration in the USA, the term ‘fake news’ has become a popular method of explanation to an event created within social media. The problem is that news agencies and websites find these invented stories and then republish, therefore causing the spread and proliferation of the fake story.

You may have seen this image recently during the G20 meeting of world leaders. Looks like a serious conversation. It may have been, but Putin was never there. Find a picture, create a story, ‘Photoshop’ the picture, then tweet it. The fake news cycle then starts. The more relevant the story, the quicker the spread.

The modification of images to tell a different story is nothing new, it’s been happening since the early days of photography. A popular myth is that it’s a problem caused by the digital age. An example is the photo of The Cottingley Fairies. Although I accept that digitisation has made things a lot easier and a lot more convincing.

Over the past few months, entwined between the ‘fake news’ stories have been several reports of manipulated images appearing in academic studies. It is easy to understand how people can be swayed to change a couple of images to validate a piece of research if it assists in the success of a financial grant. Images in documents used to prove qualifications and images proving the existence of large, wild cats in southern England have also all recently been found to be fake, or maliciously manipulated. When someone fakes an image, it is simply to present an event in a different way than the original moment in time. Continue reading

Using Project Files as Templates in Amped FIVE

People often ask, “How can we speed up the processing of files in Amped FIVE ?” (As if it’s not fast enough :). “Can we create actions/templates?” The answer is yes. Here’s how.

Load a video file. In this case, we’ll load a BWC file from an Axon Body 2 camera.

Then, we’ll rename the processing chain. Right mouse click on the processing chain – Rename Chain.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Suspect Height Calculation from CCTV

Otherwise known as ‘The Science of Single View Metrology’

The first common question asked to a forensic video analyst is, “Can you tell me what that license plate is?”. The second question is, “What is the height of that person?”.

It is then the forensic video analyst’s responsibility to analyze the video, assess its suitability to answer the question, process and prepare the images, and then finally use science to provide the answer, based on facts.

Taking a ‘workflow’ approach can often safeguard the user from missing vital information that may be relevant further along in the process.

There are a few different methods to attempt an answer to this height question, with different constraints, reliability, and drawbacks. In this post I will be taking an in-depth look at the technique built into Amped FIVE, using the filter Measure 3d.

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What monitor to use?

It’s a common question during training – “What Monitor to use?”

One of the many reasons why people start using software like Amped FIVE is that it installs and runs on any modern Windows PC. There is no need to have huge amounts of hardware or specific configurations. A good, stable setup will work perfectly well.

One of the key purchasing decisions though, when updating or designing a new workstation is the monitor. Some of you may remember that I briefly mentioned monitors in last year’s Advent Calendar: useful tips and tricks in Amped FIVE blog post.

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Amped featured in Fraud Intelligence

Alan Osborn, from Fraud Intelligence, writes about the strong interest shown at the Forensics Europe Expo, by the Trieste, Italy-based company Amped Software, whose technology enables the analysis, enhancement, and authentication of images and video. Amped told FI how it’s very easy to alter an image and change the context and the meaning of that image, but hiding the artifacts that are left behind is much harder.

Click here for the PDF version of the published article.