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Welcome to the Forensic Multimedia Analysis blog (formerly the Forensic Photoshop blog). With the latest developments in the analysis of m...

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Sustainability and getting the most for your training and education dollars

Get the most out of your training budget and save the planet whilst doing it.

We live in interesting times. There's a couple of cultural themes that are dominating the planning sessions in government and private industry. Governments and private firms are concerned about sustainability and austerity.

In order to satisfy sustainability initiatives, agencies are restricting travel. Given that airline travel  requires airplanes to consume carbon-based fuel in mass quantities, traveling to training is seen as damaging to the climate. Additionally, most government agencies will not allow a private firm to come in to a government facility and re-sell training seats in order to bring down the costs of training to small agencies. Thus, small agencies are faced with not being able to travel, and not being able to host due to the costs of purchasing on-site training.

In terms of austerity, many states aren't doing well financially. The pension crisis is hitting, homelessness is a real problem, and governments are focusing their attention - and their budgets - on the many social problems they are facing. Agencies are tasked with doing more, with less funds with which to do it. The days of "baseline budgeting" are drawing to an end as state / local governments face severe shortfalls.

I've been providing on-site training for over a decade now. I can't quantify the amount of times I've been asked to hold a seat, or the times that a class was full on the one date that worked for a student who couldn't get their registration completed in time.

On-line training and education solves all of these problems. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the most common reasons providers cite for offering online courses are to meet student demand, provide access to those who can't get to campus, and to make more courses available.

We've heard you. We're here to help.

Yesterday, I announced that our most popular course - Introduction to Forensic Multimedia Analysis with Amped FIVE - has found a home in our state-of-the-art learning management system. By offering our Intro to FIVE course on-line:

  • Travel is no longer a problem. Consider how much travel, lodging, per-diem costs and how many additional people can be trained at your agency with the savings.
  • Time is no longer a problem. With micro learning, you learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can easily accommodate an on-line course of instruction into your daily schedule. Studies show, there's better retention of information in adult learners with micro learning.
  • Sustainability is no longer a problem. With on-line training and education, the learning experience comes to you ... helping your agency and government meet it's sustainability goals.
With interactive text, videos, and assignments, the learning experience moves beyond a simple demonstration event (webinar / information session) to create real growth in your knowledge, skills, and experience.

I'm excited about this news. I hope that you are too.

You can find out more, or sign up today, by clicking here.

See you in class, my friends.

keywords: audio forensics, video forensics, image forensics, audio analysis, video analysis, image analysis, forensic video, forensic audio, forensic image, digital forensics, forensic science, amped five, axon five, training, forensic audio analysis, forensic video analysis, forensic image analysis, amped software, amped software training, amped five training, axon five training, amped authenticate, amped authenticate training

Monday, November 25, 2019

Introduction to Forensic Multimedia Analysis with Amped FIVE – Now On-Line

Learn Amped FIVE anywhere, anytime!
The most cost effective training on Amped FIVE available!

The same great training, now offered on-line at a lower price.
So many users of FIVE complained about the cost of travel to attend a training session. For others, they couldn't leave their state for training. Still others didn't have the time to dedicate a week off of work to go to training. I hear you. I'm here to help. My most popular course, Introduction to Forensic Multimedia Analysis with Amped FIVE is now available on-line in a state of the art Learning Management System as micro learning. That should help ease the pressure on your calendar and comply with your agency's travel restrictions. In order to ease the pressure on your budget,  I'm offering this course for an amazingly low introductory price of US$ 995.00.

As vendors are raising prices, I'm looking for ways to deliver value and save you money.

Remember, this class serves as the entry point for those analysts involved in forensic image and video analysis, also known as Forensic Multimedia Analysis, and their use of FIVE as their software platform.

Sign-up today and take advantage of this incredible opportunity. To view the syllabus, click here.

And because someone will ask, this course not endorsed by or offered from Amped SRL, an Italian company. It’s offered from a US based business under the Fair Use doctrine, in the same way my Forensic Photoshop book was published and the accompanying training delivered. See (Apple v Franklin), 17 U.S.C. § 101. This course does not involve the distribution of software. And besides, we're moving our training offerings on-line to help municipalities meet their sustainability goals by reducing training travel. We're just trying to do our part to help the planet. Do your part and sign up today for Introduction to Forensic Multimedia Analysis with Amped FIVE – On-Line.

keywords: audio forensics, video forensics, image forensics, audio analysis, video analysis, image analysis, forensic video, forensic audio, forensic image, digital forensics, forensic science, amped five, axon five, training, forensic audio analysis, forensic video analysis, forensic image analysis, amped software, amped software training, amped five training, axon five training, amped authenticate, amped authenticate training

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Source Attribution as an Ultimate Opinion

An interesting new article is available from David H. Kaye in Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology Vol. 60, No. 2, Winter 2020.

For decades, scientists, statisticians, psychologists, and lawyers have urged forensic scientists who compare handwriting, fingerprints, fibers, electronic recordings, shoeprints, toolmarks, soil, glass fragments, paint chips, and other items to change their ways. At last it seems that “[t]he traditional assumption that items like fingerprints and toolmarks have unique patterns that allow experts to accurately determine their source . . . is being replaced by a new logic of forensic reporting.” With the dissemination of “probabilistic genotyping” software that generates “likelihood ratios” for DNA evidence, the logic is making its way into US courts.

Recently, the Justice Department’s Senior Advisor on Forensic Science commented on a connection between prominent statements endorsing the new logic and an old rule of evidence concerning “ultimate issues.” He suggested that “some people . . . would like to pretend that [Federal Rule of Evidence 704] doesn't exist, but it actually goes against that school of thought.” This essay considers the nexus between Rule 704 and forensic-science testimony, old and new. It concludes that the rule does not apply to all source attributions, and even when it does apply, it supplies no reason to admit them over likelihood statements. In ruling on objections to traditional source attributions buttressed by the many calls for evidence-centric presentations, courts would be remiss to think that Rule 704 favors either school of thought.

Important quote:
... Thus far, I have assumed that all source attributions are ultimate opinions as those words are used in Rule 704. The rule applies to any opinion from any witness—expert or lay—that  “embraces an ultimate issue.” But the identity of the source of a trace is not necessarily an ultimate issue. The conclusion that the print lifted from a gun comes from a specific finger does not identify the murder defendant is the one who pulled the trigger. The examiner’s source attribution bears on the ultimate issue of causing the death of a human being, but the examiner who reports that the prints were defendant's is not opining that the defendant not only touched the gun (or had prints planted on it) but also pulled the trigger. Indeed, the latent print examiner would have no scientific basis for such an opinion on an element of the crime of murder..."

Download the full article here.

Have a great day, my friends.

Keywords: evidence, forensic science, identification, expert opinions, ultimate issues, Rule 704, likelihoods, individualization, probability

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How do you explain the weight of evidence?

Learn the use of probability to explain the weight of evidence in the new Statistics for Forensic Analysts course, available on-line as micro learning. For more information, click here.

Sign up today and start learning statistical concepts as they relate to Forensic Science including standard error, standard deviation, confidence interval, significance level, likelihood ratio, probability, conditional probability, Bayes’ theorem, and odds.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Redaction - where do you start?

Learn to redact multimedia evidence for court, media release, or standards compliance. Four new redaction courses are available on-line as micro learning featuring  the most popular tools used for redaction. For more information, click here.  

Sign up today and start learning to redact multimedia files. These courses will get you up to speed on the issues and the technology necessary to quickly and confidently tackle this complex task.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Gaps in vendor-specific training?

Did your tool-specific training in video forensics leave you with questions? Do you want to know more? Want to dive deep into the science of forensic multimedia analysis? Click here to sign up for Introduction to Forensic Multimedia Analysis, available on-line as micro learning.

This course is the perfect complement to your vendor's training courses, offering a deep dive into the science that helps you to answer those "why" questions, helping you become a better analyst and a more confident expert witness.

keywords: audio forensics, video forensics, image forensics, audio analysis, video analysis, image analysis, forensic video, forensic audio, forensic image, digital forensics, forensic science, amped five, axon five, training, forensic audio analysis, forensic video analysis, forensic image analysis, amped software, amped software training, amped five training, axon five training, amped authenticate, amped authenticate training

Friday, November 15, 2019

Windows Sandbox vs Virtual Machine

Recently, I spent a week in New Jersey teaching a week-long course on forensic multimedia analysis with Amped FIVE. On day four of the class, we spent the morning installing, configuring, and working within virtual machines.

I've been using Oracle's Virtual Box for a while now. It's what we were working with in the course. It's easy to set-up and use. Plus, it's free.

But, the inevitable question came up. Why not use the new Windows Sandbox feature instead of Virtual Box, or other VM?

In their specific case, the answer was easy - the computers in their training room would not support Sandbox. To use Sandbox, your computer must meet minimum specifications.

  • Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise build 18305 or later
  • AMD64 architecture
  • Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS
  • At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • At least 1 GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
  • At least 2 CPU cores (4 cores with hyperthreading recommended).
If your computer is capable of running Sandbox, setting it up is as simple as turning the feature on in the Windows Features dialog box.
Turn Windows Sandbox on in the Windows Features dialog box.
The training machines at this agency were 32bit with only 4GB of RAM. 

Yes, ICYMI, FIVE will run in a VM. I've installed FIVE in the popular VMs out there and it works just fine. The nice thing about FIVE is that it runs off a license key (dongle). With a VM, I can assign the USB port with the dongle to the VM to let FIVE run in the VM. Some of the other analysis programs out there require machine codes on installation, which will complicate matters. Some vendors allow only a single installation per license. With FIVE, you can install it everywhere. The dongle is portable. The software installation is quite agile.

FIVE running inside of Windows Sandbox
In my laboratory work, I have VMs set up for specific cases. I also have VMs set up for specific codecs / players (like Walmart's Verint / March Networks codecs). I can save these VMs. I can share these VMs for discovery.

Not so with Sandbox. Sandbox is volatile. Once you shut it down, everything you were just doing is gone for good. But, don't worry about accidents. Microsoft warns you of this.

Windows Sandbox warning about losing everything once you close the window.
My worry with Sandbox is that I've created something for a case. Then, when I shut it down, I necessarily destroy it. I'm just not comfortable with that. Thus, I still use Virtual Box.

Additionally, with a Virtual Box, I set things up once. Then, in the case of test/validate, I can use the space multiple times if needed. With Sandbox, I must set things up from scratch each time. Such a waste IMHO.

That's not even considering Windows stability issues and crashes. There's no "auto recovery" feature to Sandbox if the host OS crashes.

The other nice thing about VirtualBox are extension packs. The main extension pack from Oracle extends USB functionality within your VM. "VirtualBox Extension Pack" adds support for USB 2.0 & 3.0 devices such as network adapters, flash drives, hard disks, web cams, etc., that are inserted into physical USB ports of the host machine. These can then be attached to the VM running on VirtualBox. As a result, you can use a physical USB device in a guest operating system. There are other extension packs, with new ones being developed all the time.

If you haven't tried working in virtual machines, give it a go for yourself. If you'd like hands-on guidance, you're welcome to sign up for one of our upcoming training sessions. Check the calendar on our web site for available dates. We teach VMs within the Advanced Processing Techniques course. If you don't see a date that works for you on our calendar, but want to schedule a class, contact us about bringing a course to your agency or adding a course to our local training calendar ... or about our new micro learning options for self-directed learners.

Have a great day, my friends.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Deep-fakes, Photoshopping, and the Post-Truth Society.

With deep fake videos & Photoshopped images, how do you know you can trust what you see and hear? Learn the science of authentication in this new Forensic Multimedia Authentication course. It's available on-line as micro learning.  Click here for more information.

Remember, it’s not “just video.” Often times, it's the only witness to the events of the day. Please don’t let expediency guide your path. “Video evidence is a lot like nitroglycerin: Properly handled, it can demolish an opposing counsel’s case. Carelessly managed, it can blow up in your face.”