Monday, November 14, 2011

Avid Media Composer 6 - wait for a bit

For those considering updating Media Composer to version 6, wait for a bit and make sure that your system can handle the upgrade. MC6 is a 64-bit app. If your hardware is not 64-bit, stay with MC5.5 for now.

Another thing to consider is that the Ocean Systems plug-ins for Avid Media Composer are 32-bit, and thus won't work with MC6.

Enjoy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Digital evidence becoming central in criminal cases

This just in from MSNBC: "... Drew Findling, an Atlanta attorney and chairman of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Forensic Disciplines Committee, notes that e-evidence might just as easily create an unshakable alibi, which is why he routinely hires experts to examine equipment and data.

“You want to have the equipment examined to determine the reliability, both from a chronological and content standpoint,” he said. “And there are times when that evidence is of an exculpatory nature, so you want to make sure that you gain access to it – whether it’s a computer or an iPhone or whatever – and that you preserve that evidence immediately.”

Courts already are wrestling with the challenges presented in general by electronic evidence, which has become almost ubiquitous in both civil and criminal cases.

“Electronic evidence is admitted in almost every trial in America, whether it’s a phone bill or electric bill or a document that’s created, stored or transmitted electronically,” said Mark D. Rasch, director of cybersecurity and privacy consulting at the technology services company CSC and former head of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit. “… When you think about it, even a crime scene photograph is electronic evidence now ...”

They go on to say ..."Experts have different views of those to-and-fro battles.

Rasch, the former Justice Department official, said that courts often impose higher requirements on digital evidence than they do with physical documents, such as letters.

“We demand a (greater) degree of certitude for certain kinds of electronic evidence than is demanded in the physical world. … A lot of it has to do with the general unease we have with electronic evidence. We’re not sure it’s reliable, that it hasn’t been tampered with.”

But others worry that current laws – and the judges who enforce them – have failed to adequately consider that electronic evidence is “inherently malleable or ephemeral.”

Among them is Steven Teppler, a partner in the Chicago law firm Edelson McGuire and co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Digital Evidence Committee. He is part of what he describes as a growing movement within the legal profession to have digital evidence deemed “hearsay,” and thus generally inadmissible in legal proceedings unless its reliability can be demonstrated.

“Unless we change the rules of evidence to require a higher level of reliability, you have this built in problem where people say, ‘It comes out of the computer, therefore it must be reliable,’” he said.

But that doesn’t account for the fact that programmers create the software that instructs those machines to generate data, Teppler said ..." Read the whole story by clicking here.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Best Practices - Quality Control Survey

I putting together some stats for my PhD work. One of the issues that I'm addressing is quality control. In attempting to gather qualitative data, it's essential to get to the point quickly and to have specific questions that will yield specific results.

One of the questions regarding quality control focusses on the qualifications of the person conducting the process. In other words, does the QC person know enough to know when a work product is wrong/bad?

Case in point, if your SOPs say that you should always get the native or proprietary data (whenever possible), and the technician returns with a DVD movie that was captured via the analogue output (and the system does offer a digital output option) ... would your QC person know to flag it for further enquiry? Put another way, does simply making sure that the video "plays" on the QC person's PC suffice?

If you'd like to participate in this survey, please let me know.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Helpful shortcuts 3

Often, it's desirable to group your layers in order to keep them better organized. Here's the quick and easy shortcut. Select the layers that you would like to group together (Cmd + click). Then, to group those selected layers, type Cmd + G.

Enjoy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Helpful shortcuts 2

Zooming in and out is a necessity when working on a large image. Here are the keyboard shortcuts from zooming in and out.

Zoom in: Cmd + =
Zoom out: Cmd + -

Enjoy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Helpful shortcuts 1

As you move through the workflow, adding layers to your image is essential. As it’s likely that you'll add many layers, here's a helpful tip that can save you a number of clicks (and thus save a ton of time).

New layer with dialog box: Cmd + Shift + N
New layer without dialog box: Cmd + Shift + Alt + N

Enjoy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

MultiMedia Forensics Innocence Project?

Months ago, Larry E. Daniel posted a call for a Digital Forensics Innocence Project. Referencing another article's comment, ""What we need is a Computers Forensics version of the Innocence Project. We need experts who believe in the presumption of innocence and are willing to spend the time it takes to dig through logs, registry entries and hard drives to find exculpatory material when present. Prosecutors who look for – and presume – guilt do selective searches for data supporting guilt; those accused rarely have the resources to counter such selective evidence," Larry goes on a slightly more moderate tone to say, "I agree with him in principal, considering that there are people who are charged with crimes who do not have the resources to hire experts. And in cases where the client cannot meet the standard to be declared indigent and receive funding for an expert, I believe that we as experts in the field should be willing to take on a reasonable number of pro bono cases."

One of the things presented in the NAS report is the strangle hold that police crime labs have on the forensic science process. Finding an expert that you can afford, who is not part of a police crime lab, can be difficult. The problem is ... we have to get there. There are a few labs out there. Price is driven by a combination of supply/demand, the cost to operate, and the price set by the courts (when they're paying the bill).

I'd love to see some version of the Innocence Project that includes digital multimedia forensics. If it ever comes ... sign me up.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perry v. New Hampshire looks at eyewitness testimony

This just in from USA Today: "Supreme Court justices on Wednesday challenged the notion that testimony from arguably unreliable eyewitnesses should be specially scrutinized at trial because of how it can lead to wrongful convictions.

"Why is unreliable eyewitness identification any different from unreliable anything else" introduced at trial, Justice Antonin Scalia asked during arguments in a New Hampshire case. "Eyewitness identification evidence is unique," responded lawyer Richard Guerriero. He represents a man whose theft conviction was based partly on the report of a woman who said she watched him out her apartment window. Guerriero called mistaken IDs "the leading cause of miscarriages of justice."

Justice Elena Kagan said jailhouse informants could also create an especially "unreliable" category. "I understand you have very good empirical evidence which should lead us all to wonder about the reliability of eyewitness testimony," she said. "I'm just suggesting that eyewitness testimony is not the only kind of testimony which people can do studies on and find that it's more unreliable than you think."

Longstanding national concerns about the trustworthiness of eyewitness accounts formed the backdrop of Wednesday's dispute. The American Psychological Association, which has entered the case on the defendant's side, says, "Controlled experiments as well as studies of actual identifications have consistently found that the rate of incorrect identifications is approximately 33 percent."

Supreme Court cases dating to the 1960s have similarly stressed that eyewitness identifications are particularly untrustworthy and can lead to tainted jury verdicts and injustice. The question Wednesday is what safeguards for due process of law and fairness are necessary.

New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney, urging the court to uphold the theft conviction, said identification evidence should be specially reviewed by a judge only when police obtained the ID through an unnecessarily suggestive police method — for example, in photos shown to a witness. The federal government and 29 states are siding with New Hampshire, urging the high court to leave the question of eyewitness reliability generally to a jury ..."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Early PS CS6 beta leaked

Here's a link to commentary on leaked beta info for Photoshop CS6.

Enjoy.