This is an era of digital evidence! Those days are gone when law enforcement officers only collected and used objects or materials as physical evidence to prove or disprove the statements of witnesses, victims, and defendants.
With the widespread use of digital devices everywhere, most criminal cases involve digital evidence. This has revolutionized the ways of storage and management of digital evidence completely.
Think of a scenario where you, as a public safety officer, have CCTV footage and are worried about storing and managing them with the highest level of security.
All you need to have is digital evidence software!
This blog will highlight what digital evidence is, its sources, and the importance of digital evidence software. Finally, it will highlight the optimal digital evidence software for your agency.
What is Digital Evidence?
Nowadays, criminal case investigations are incomplete without analyzing digital evidence. It has become an integral part of every criminal or civil case, from the crime scene to the courtroom. Solid and authentic digital evidence results in a faster rate of case closure.
Let's have a quick overview of digital evidence.
Any data in digital form is considered evidence if it signifies any information most relevant to the case and reveals the truth.
In simple words, digital evidence, also termed as electronic evidence, is the data stored and transmitted in a binary form such as videos, images, and audio.
Digital evidence can be presented in any form, such as in the case of digital forensics, digital fingerprints, and lab results, each of which is considered as evidence.
While in most cases, data extracted from CCTV, drone cams, and in-car video systems can be used as digital evidence.
Nowadays, many digital devices are used everywhere, generating tons of digital data daily. The following are many sources of digital evidence depending on the case type.
Sources of Digital Evidence
Digital Cameras: Including CCTV, Body-Worn Cameras, and Vehicle-Dashcams provide images and videos.
Mobile Phones: Call logs, text messages, videos, images, and voice recordings are stored locally.
Laptops/Computers: Emails, browser history, videos, audio, images, documents, social media history etc.
Local Storage Devices: such as hard drives, thumb drives, DVDs, or any other local storage device.
Automated License Plate Readers: images of license plates, cars, and their locations useful for law enforcement agencies.
Call Recordings: Any audio call recording of a Public Safety Answering Point, such as 911 call recordings, can be used as digital evidence.
Interview Room Recording Systems: videos, images, audio recordings of witnesses, suspects etc.
As discussed above, vast sources of digital evidence pose a great challenge for law enforcement agencies to ingest, store and then manage a huge stack of evidence before presenting it to the court.
For this reason, they certainly require digital evidence software!
For more detailed information on video evidence, check this: Make Your Video Evidence Court Admissible with Video Evidence Software.
What is the Purpose of Digital Evidence Software?
The life cycle of digital evidence is complex. Initially, at the crime scene, police officers as first responders are all in action. They seize the crime scene and every possible evidence, digital, physical, and otherwise, present right there. They inspect all the available digital devices and elements and seize them, following the best practices.
Read for more information on: Important Practices Police Must Know About Seizing Digital Evidence.
After the collection phase, their next task is to secure data storage. Data must be protected and secured for a required period; otherwise, it could fall into the wrong hands.
One of the most significant duties of police officers and law enforcement officers is to secure digital evidence in the best possible way.
Digital evidence software provides security and makes this job easier for them.
Learn more about: How to Secure Police Data with a DEMS Solution?
Once the criminal investigation is done, police officers send the report to the prosecutors for discovery management and further legal proceedings.
Not only that but digital evidence software is also required to make all the elements of the criminal justice system more efficient.
But this is not the end; after collection and storage, it must be managed properly!
This is another challenge for them!
Additionally, there should be a complete chain of custody for each digital evidence file to prove its authenticity in court.
Managing digital evidence is a common practice for prosecutors, defense attorneys, and court staff members.
For a time-efficient discovery process, prosecutors need to extract useful and case-relevant information from all types of evidence presented to them by police officers.
Throughout this process, they require editing, annotating, and quick sorting of evidence files of every case. Additionally, considering the importance of meeting compliance requirements in terms of privacy protection of individuals while sharing evidence publicly or presenting it in front of a jury, redaction is required too!
That’s too much work in a limited time!
All these functions require a lot of time and human effort if done through traditional methods with different CMS or RMS systems.
Rather, you must have a user-friendly and efficient platform that provides artificial intelligence features for data management.
Important Elements to Look for in Digital Evidence Software
Before deciding which software is best for your organization, you must consider the following essential elements.
Competent evidence software must be device-agnostic. It can ingest digital evidence from any source.
It provides flexible deployment options according to your requirements such as on-premises, on the cloud or in the hybrid infrastructure.
It can integrate with any IT application, CMS, RMS and LMS systems.
It must be highly secure in terms of storage, management, and sharing with other officers within or outside the organization.
It can transcribe (speech to text) and translate digital evidence files in different languages automatically.
On top of that, it can detect any changes in your digital evidence through cryptographic hash values.
An efficient digital evidence software must meet all compliance requirements such as CJIS, HIPPA, FOIA etc.
Redact videos, images, audio recordings and documents.
Edit videos and audio recordings such as clipping and trimming.
Annotate videos to highlight significant information or elements that need to be considered important for the case.
These are a few important pointers you should look for before choosing the right software for your agency.
In fact, with growing digital evidence management needs, you need to have more AI-Powered features, efficiency, and competency.
Do you want to know which software serves all your digital evidence needs?
The Right Digital Evidence Software for You!
VIDIZMO, with 20 years of experience in media management, provides IDC-MarketScape Recognized Digital Evidence Management System that caters to your digital evidence management needs and requirements.
VIDIZMO DEMS is trusted for its AI-Powered features, broad compliance coverage and security at all levels. VIDIZMO DEMS offers the following features:
Multiple ways to upload digital evidence files of any size and format, such as bulk upload and watch folders.
Organize and categorize digital evidence files into separate case folders that ease the pain of sorting and searching for relevant case files whenever required.
Flexible deployment options aligned with your preferences and needs, such as on the cloud, on-premises or hybrid environment.
Security is maintained with various features, including end-to-end encryption in transit, in use and at rest, integration with SSO identity providers, IP restrictions, password protection and more.
Restrict access to each file and define who can access it with the number of views, dates, number of days, and viewing options like view-only, block download etc.
Secure evidence sharing between relevant stakeholders.
A comprehensive audit trail report and chain of custody is maintained for each evidence file that includes who has accessed the file, when it has been accessed, what particular action is performed on it and IP addresses.
View multiple video footage in one frame for better analysis and review processes.
But the list of features does not end here!
Do you want to get a complete picture of the VIDIZMO DEMS product?