Thursday, June 12, 2008

Public Safety Technology in the News

Digital Forensics: How Experts Uncover Doctored Images
Scientific American, (06/2008), Hany Farid

Fake photographs are nothing new, but advances in
technology have made it easier to create doctored images and more difficult to detect them. In response, researchers are now advancing the technology used for the forensic analysis of digital images. For example, computer software may be used to analyze photographs for evidence of light source inconsistencies, cloned areas, and appropriate pixel correlations based on the alleged camera. The ability to authenticate digital photographs will support their submission as evidence in a court of law.

Long-Promised, Voice Commands Are Finally Going Mainstream
WIRED, (06/04/2008), Alexander Gelfand

Changes in the power of computers and processors are poised to change the state of voice recognition
technology. The changes could bring voice recognition to the forefront in electronic security, as a validation tool or in user interfaces, and as an appliance option or everyday computer tool. The technology has been available since the 1950s, and with recent gains in programming the technology can interpret human speech more accurately. Commercial applications are already available for portable GPS units and vehicle applications. In Europe, a voice-controlled oven was recently released by Indesit. As a security measure a person's voice is as unique as a fingerprint or iris, so the use of voice recognition for phone or face-to-face applications can be more secure than username or password combinations, or even pin numbers.

MSU Researcher Creates System Helping
Police to Match Tattoos to Suspects, (05/27/2008)

Biometrics is the ability to use an individual's anatomical or behavioral attributes for identification purposes. A researcher at Michigan State University has expanded that ability to include scars, marks, and tattoo recognition to aid in identifying individuals. Referred to as "Tattoo-ID," the software developed by Anil Jain uses databases of distinguishing marks supplied by the law enforcement community, and each image is linked to a
criminal history for suspects and convicted criminals with similar marks. A search based on an image provided by the user will then produce results relating to similar tattoos, marks, or scars and the associated records for individuals that have those distinguishing marks. This can help law enforcement narrow searches based on these features.

Computers Will Increase Ability to Enforce Law
Yuma Sun, (06/03/2008)

The Yuma County Sheriff's office, using unspecified Federal funding, is updating 50 patrol vehicles with new mobile data terminals (MDT). The computers will cost almost $200,000. To help reduce costs the department will use its own personnel to install and program the units. The MDTs being replaced allow the deputies to access motor vehicle records and
crime databases, but the new units will allow quicker access to photos, and deputies will be able to complete reports from the field versus returning to the station.

Sagem Morpho Wins Biometric Identification Technology Award
BusinessWire, (06/02/2008)

At the 2008 Global Border Security Conference, Sagem Morpho, Inc. demonstrated its biometrics identification tool MorphFace Investigate (MFI) system. The system includes case management capabilities, biometric matching, and
forensic evaluation tools to help with investigative tasks. It is capable of providing tools needed to match individuals where images are available via mug shot, motor vehicle records, or on a watch list using multiple type of source material.

Purdue Professor Schools
Law Enforcement on Mac "Cyber Forensics"
ARS Technica, (06/03/2008), Chris Foresman

Purdue University's Director of Cyber Forensics, Dr. Marc Rogers, is providing officers from all over Indiana training on the forensics examination of Macintosh computers, iPods, and iPhones. The university's Cyber Forensics Lab, part of the College of
Technology's Department of Computer and Information Technology, supports not only the graduate Cyber Forensics program, but is also used for research and provides assistance and training to all levels of law enforcement. The lab hopes to continue providing forensic investigators with increased knowledge regarding Macintosh operating systems and published information about the examination of Apple products.

Law Enforcement - One-Stop Shopping for Tracking Criminals
The New York Times, (06/01/2008), Elsa Brenner

Space that was previously used by the Westchester County Department of Social Services as a homeless shelter is being repurposed as an information center to be used by
law enforcement for crime analysis. In an effort to promote information sharing at all levels, the new Westchester Intelligence Center will be used by the county's 43 agencies, and be shared with other multijurisdictional county, State, and Federal agencies that operate in the county. The cost to convert the space was $280,000.

Texas City Uses Wireless IP Video for Crime Prevention Network
Security Products Online, (06/03/2008)

The city of Southlake, Texas, will become one more city to enlist the support of video surveillance on a wireless IP network as a
crime prevention tool. Southlake has an "old-style town square," and using this type of technology was ideal for not disrupting the look and feel of the town square with obtrusive equipment. BigWave Communications was chosen to install and provide the service for this project by the city.

Web 2.0 Sites a Thriving Marketplace for Malware
The Washington Post, (05/31/2008), Erik Larkin - PC World

The creation and distribution of malware is not illegal in the United States or abroad, but the actual act of using the program or software is illegal. Keeping that in mind, creator/vendors of the programs are using the Internet to advertise and sell their products on social networking sites, blogs, and even YouTube. However, the publicity being generated flies in the face of the conventional wisdom of not attracting attention when doing something questionable. The sites that are being used by the groups to advertise do have the impact of giving the
law enforcement community a starting point for investigations and data gathering. Instances that involve the successful prosecution of vendors seem to be a rarity because proving the vendor had prior knowledge of criminal intent is very difficult.

State Meth-Busters Get New Tool
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, (06/05/2008), Noel E. Oman

An electronic logbook called MethMonitor, created by LeadsOnLabs, is a new tool for the Arkansas
Crime Information Center. This tool allows agencies, with staff dedicated to methamphetamine investigations, access to records via computer that were previously only available in hard copy at pharmacies. This tool can save officers time in their efforts to build such cases. For pharmacies, participation costs nothing, and the system is user friendly to help ensure participation. Only active for a few weeks, the system is already making an impact by helping in meth cases.

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