Monday, June 21, 2010

2 Different Workflows?

A reader sent in a link to an archived eSeminar hosted by Adobe's Colin Smith entitled, Adobe Acrobat 9 and Creative Suite 4 for Forensic and Law Enforcement Professionals. The reader was confused (rightly) as the host described two differing workflows for Law Enforcement. The two workflows, "Investigation" and "Court Presentation" are a bit confusing as described. Essentially, the host argues that during the investigation, anything goes, expediency rules. As such, this workflow, according to Smith, is not reproducible. He encourages users to "get creative" and "push the envelope" "[using] any means possible" to "reveal any data" and "extract evidence." While I'm all for pushing the envelope, it is possible to do so in a way that's reliable and repeatable. Why Smith would advise law enforcement users to use a workflow that is not repeatable at any step of the process is beyond me.

Everything that we do, every step we take in getting from evidence to arrest is discoverable. Our notes, our processes, our SOPs, and etc. are all subject to discovery. Law Enforcement and Forensic Professionals are subject to the same rules throughout the length of their casework. We don't get a pass on work done leading up to an arrest, simply because we were in a rush to clear our cases. Everything we do has to be repeatable and reliable, or it's not science. With all due respect to Colin Smith, if it's not reproducible, it's art - not forensic imaging.

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