With cameras as ubiquitous as they are, citizen-provided evidence is becoming more and more substantial when it comes to acquitting or incriminating victims in court. However, no matter how much information is captured, it’s rare for it all to be seen by those in charge of making the critical decisions, as there isn’t an effective way to submit or sort through the media.
To change that, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has launched a new online app, built around Amazon’s Web Services, to allow anyone to submit photo and video evidence of incidences.
Turns out you may not have to be stupid enough to post incriminating evidence on Instagram to get busted via photo in the near future. A pair of British researchers are working on a way to collect identifiable images from the reflections of people captured on a photo subject’s eyeball. Read more…
Sob alert: Fashion/celebrity photographer Terry Richardson says he’s likely to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to a recent ruling in a suit against Lady Gaga. Read more…
Donalee Moulton over at The Lawyers Weekly has an article describing how EXIF data is beginning to be accepted as valuable evidence in courtrooms — at least in Canada:
Traditionally, a photograph was a picture of one point in time. It could only tell what someone was doing, or not doing, at a particular moment on a particular day. What came before or after was unknown. This uncertainty meant that even what appeared to be a damning image had little value as a piece of evidence because there was no context […]
Digital photography does not pose the same problem. In some cases, the metadata are enough to counter the snapshot argument by demonstrating that an activity was performed repeatedly or for a lengthy period […]
Apparently judges are considering EXIF data to be relevant in personal injury lawsuits, in which photos could “prove” that the plaintiff isn’t too injured or depressed to function properly. Hopefully the courts are aware of how easily EXIF data can be faked.
Smile, You’re on Metadata [The Lawyers Weekly]
Thanks for sending in the tip, Phil!
Image credit: More Exif Info configuration by mortimer?, Courtroom One Gavel by Joe Gratz
SanDisk has just announced that Japan’s police force has adopted its 1GB SD WORM memory card for collecting evidence. The Write Once, Read Many cards are tamperproof, can only be written to using a WORM-compatible device, and supposedly stores data reliably for 100 years. Practically speaking, this means that photographs and audio can be collected onto the cards, allowing those who access the data later on to be confident that it wasn’t tampered or edited in any way. The National Police in Japan have tested the technology extensively, and seem to be convinced of SanDisk’s claims.
We can’t really think of any practical application for ordinary photographers (can you?), but it’s interesting to know that this kind of technology is out there and being used.