Video surveillance solutions are also deployed to reduce criminal activities such as murder, robbery, and theft. The deployment of video surveillance enables a safer environment and helps improve the quality of life for citizens.However, as the video surveillance market has grown, so has the vendors, creating a myriad of existing equipment made up of multiple brands and models, all with different specifications and management systems.
Centralizing these video surveillance systems becomes difficult as incompatible or outmoded cameras become incompatible, causing the need to awkwardly string components together leading to imperfect results.
Not only does this create an inadequate protection scenario, but it also makes it difficult to impossible for footage to be collected in the event it is needed by law enforcement agencies who may need to collect video evidences on-site.
The problem is further compounded for law enforcement agencies who collect evidences on-site (such as CCTV videos) from other video surveillance systems.
As per a survey done by CoPaCC, 51.8% of investigators questioned, reported that one of their biggest problems was the ability to collect CCTV video evidence on-site manually.
Furthermore, storage of digital evidence on disks is forensically unsound, subject to challenge, and lacking in permanence; these collected discs then need to be uploaded, managed, and made searchable in a centralized location, preferably their native system.
What Solution Does VIDIZMO Offer?
We, through VIDIZMO's Digital Evidence Management (DEM) System, offers a centralized co-existing and integrated solution that can store, manage, search and analyze the ever-increasing digital evidence collected from multiple surveillance systems as well as old evidence stored on CDs and DVDs after digitization.
We understand the challenges faced by agencies and therefore provide comprehensive digital evidence ingestion, organized case folders, optimized metadata and tags, easy transcription, powerful search, and discovery, extensive sharing, robust security, accurate audit logs, configurable disposition policy, and multiple deployment options.
According to a survey by CoPaCC, 51.2% of the officers reported uploading and converting proprietary CCTV videos to a playable format as one of the significant challenges they faced.
VIDIZMO's DEM can ingest digital evidences from all formats and sources: such as DVDs, CCTV cameras, phone recordings, images, docs, body-worn cameras, dash cams, interview rooms cameras, and many others.
VIDIZMO can also ingest metadata associated with the evidence to enhance search and discovery of digital evidence and can be configured to ingest thousands of hours of video with relevant metadata to index the evidence and make it searchable.
VIDIZMO allows you to create case folders out-of-the-box. A case folder is a compilation of digital evidence such as videos, images, and documents. Administrators and case officers can easily manage, access, share and track all digital evidence.
Case folders are a great way to organize and sort content, keep the evidence in a series, and ensure smooth retrieval of digital evidence. Furthermore, administrators can classify evidence by metadata such as custom attributes which help in searching and organizing evidence.
Metadata and Tags
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management organizes the evidence by leveraging tags such as agency tags, user-generated tags associated with evidence, system-generated tags associated with evidence as well as metadata. Such as user and system-generated metadata that extract raw data from evidence such as file type and turn it into information that makes the evidence easily discoverable.
Authorized users can enter and edit ownership or credit, their usage terms, description, their choice of basic search terms, a drop-down menu for managing consistently used metadata options, and the date and time an upload is made.
VIDIZMO provides its users with over 120 custom attributes for user-generated descriptive and structural metadata.
Descriptive metadata provides information about the intellectual content of digital evidence, and it changes with each digital evidence, whereas structural metadata shows how different digital evidences are related to each other, and it applies to multiple digital assets. In a digital asset, metadata is mostly used to describe information related to digital evidence.
VIDIZMO offers system generated as well as user-generated metadata.
Furthermore, VIDIZMO provides two types of tag:
- Agency Tags – Predefined tags that are manually configured by administrators, usually containing keywords that are widely used by agencies. Agency tags can also be generated via the system if one doesn't want to do it manually.
- Evidence Tags – Evidence tags are associated with any kind of evidence separately. The uploader can add these tags to individual evidence files. VIDIZMO also offers AI-enabled tagging that automatically generates smart tags for each evidence file.
In 2018, a "refresh" of Section 508 took effect and aimed to bring American standards more to closely resemble international accessibility efforts such as the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Access Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0).
The original scope of Section 508 is to make all federal information that is available electronically accessible to users with disabilities.
In keeping with that commitment to accessibility, VIDIZMO strongly supports the US Federal government's and other agencies use of accessibility as a criterion by providing machine-generated automatic transcription this broadens how many people can watch, understand, and embrace the video content, such as those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Also, by converting spoken words into searchable and indexable text, speeds up evidence processing, in-video search, and retrieval.
Compliant features, such as audio descriptions and captions, make videos easier to understand for everyone, not only people with disabilities. Many "accessibility" features are just hallmarks of good user experience.
To further enhance the user experience by providing accurate transcriptions, VIDIZMO also provides human transcription.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Law enforcement agencies in charge of public safety must handle all of the challenges associated with providing public safety. Luckily, police officers are able to rely on technology for many parts of their job. In recent years, artificial intelligence technology especially has become an important aspect of police work globally.
As AI-based police technology becomes increasingly essential to law enforcement, areas like facial recognition are frequently being used to enhance security measures.
To further assist law enforcement agencies to enhance security measures VIDIZMO provides Artificial Intelligence (AI) features which draw information from three main pillars audio, visual, and audiovisual evidence.
These contents are further broken down to OCR, Face Detection and Visual Content Moderation under visual AI features and Voice Activity Detection, Language Identification, Emotion Recognition under audio AI features. Audiovisual AI features are used for Brand Detection, Keyword Extraction, and Topic Modelling.
VIDIZMO’s Artificial Intelligence Cognitive features bring new insights by analyzing audio content in a video and applying contextual analysis that provide advanced smart search within a video. The critical analysis that VIDIZMO brings for Audio AI features are:
Audio Analysis: Emotion detection, spoken content moderation, and audio effects.
Speech to Text Analysis: Language identification, audio transcription, transcript customization, closed captioning, and translations.
Sound and Voice Analysis: Two channel processing, noise reduction, speaker enumeration, and speaker statistics.
Search and discovery
Evidences migrated from other surveillance systems, and types of storage such as discs need to be made searchable.
Once uploaded, VIDIZMO provides a robust platform for search of digital evidences within the platform through categories, tags, custom attributes (user-defined, and system-generated), and metadata generated from various sources such as Artificial Intelligence.
VIDIZMO’s DEM allows a thorough and detailed search of all digital evidence in the DEM system using metadata such as DME title, case number, lead investigator, annotations, description, tags, author or even by custom attributes such as publishing date, evidence type, evidence upload date, department, evidence locality, or any other required identifiers.
Furthermore, for evidences such as videos, VIDIZMO provides a search inside the video that makes finding information as easy as searching for content in an email or document.
VIDIZMO provides geospatial mapping of all captured digital evidence. Digital evidence captured with GPS-enabled device contains KLV metadata that VIDIZMO leverages to locate the evidence on the map. In case KLV metadata is unavailable, VIDIZMO allows officers to add location manually in the system to reflect it on the geospatial map.
VIDIZMO also provides ‘search on the map’ that allows officers to search evidence on the map and by tapping or clicking on evidence location, officers can view the evidences associated to that location.
52.5% of the law enforcement agents interviewed, according to the CoPaCC survey, also highlighted the sharing of evidence with prosecutors as the top issue.
Since evidence pours from a multitude of digital sources, there is a vast amount of digital sharing amongst law enforcement agencies that work collaboratively to solve cases.
These stakeholders include, but are not limited to, County Sheriff, Police Departments, District Attorneys, Defense Attorneys, Public Defender, juries, and judges- all of whom are involved in the process sharing digital evidences for legal investigations.
For instance, when a district attorney opens a case for investigation, the law enforcement agencies involved are required to share evidences with the DA's office within a specific timeframe. These evidences are then shared with judges and juries for trail and other courtroom procedures. Sharing digital evidences is, therefore, integral to the legal process.
Furthermore, states like New York recently passed a bill that requires district attorneys to turn over most of the evidence to the defense within 15 days of a defendant's first court appearance.
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System addresses this by allowing straightforward content sharing with internal and external (third party) users by generating a link and password protecting evidences.
These features enable investigators to share digital evidences with specific viewers (internally or externally) or groups. Admins have the option to make evidences available by email or specifying viewers and groups for a particular time frame by entering details such as hour, minute, beginning, and ending date of the digital evidence to be shared.
Data from video surveillance and equipment are vulnerable to similar security challenges that threaten other areas of IT systems. TechRepublic reported in March 2018 of a cyberattack on the Atlanta Police Department in which all of the officers' dash-cam video data were wiped out, compromising years of evidence collected as footages.
The police department's chief said the lost footage could compromise DUI cases if an officer's testimony isn't enough.
VIDIZMO DEM has robust security offering with various safety controls, both on an application level and for stored content. VIDIZMO provides platform-based security through single sign-on authentication, multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, digital rights management (DRM), login encryption, audit logs, IP/ domain restriction (trusted domains), inactivity timeout and user logouts.
VIDIZMO also provides application-level security and database/storage level security by offering SSO/Identity Federation, AD Attributes and Groups Synchronization, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Audit Logs, Trusted Domains, HTTPS, and Network Management.
Database security includes data encryption and content encryption.
Furthermore, admins can implement security policies at the portal level and assign specific security policies to each evidence uploaded.
Also, keeping security in mind, VIDIZMO offers its government and law enforcement customers the opportunity to leverage public cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) Government Cloud.
These options give customers the flexibility to architect secure cloud solutions that comply with the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), FedRAMP High baseline, US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR); Export Administration Regulations (EAR); Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG) for Impact Levels 2, 4 and 5; FIPS 140-2; IRS-1075; and other compliance regimes.
These types of cloud providers help customers address security and compliance issues at every stage of their cloud journey.
VIDIZMO's Digital Evidence Management also secures all digital evidence by using hashing algorithms. Hashing is the process of producing unique hash values for the purpose of accessing data and for security reasons in communication systems.
Once the evidence is uploaded, a unique hash will be generated. If that evidence is tampered after it has been stored in the system, the system will automatically generate a new hash that will reflect that the evidence has been tampered.
Audit Logs and Chain of Custody
Public prosecutors must show that digital evidences presented are authentic and have not been tampered. At the same time, investigators need to perform a high-value analysis of the digital evidences to find information that proves the guilt or innocence of the suspect in court.
VIDIZMO audit logs provides a trail of all activities performed in the system such an event, IP address from where the event occurred, the user who initiated the event, description of the event, date and time, and other relevant details. The system logs all activity — an audit trail report displays which, what, when, and where files have been accessed.
VIDIZMO's DEM also provides the chain of custody of all digital evidence. Through chain of custody, you can see the audit trail of the digital evidence such as its seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence. Chain of custody helps to show that the evidence being presented is authentic.
The proper handling of evidence, from the initial seizure to the eventual final destruction is of the utmost importance, and improper handling of evidence can have dire consequences. One of the essential features required by law enforcement agencies is that the complete lifecycle of digital evidence is well-tethered and trackable.
Disposition and destruction of archived digital evidence is a part of the native VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management (DEM) system experience where law enforcement and other agencies can configure policies like retention for complete evidence disposition after deleting cases and evidence from the portal.
Deleted evidence can still be accessed from Recycle Bin by administrators in the system. This holds much value, especially for law enforcement agencies, as a clean forensics submission process and procurement of tamper-free evidence.
Are there multiple deployment options available to consolidate digital evidence in one platform?
VIDIZMO provides the option for secure content storage, either on-premises, on any customer-owned or VIDIZMO provided cloud, and also a hybrid deployment.
VIDIZMO’s customers can also employ a hybrid cloud solution where data can be stored in the cloud and on-premises. Such would be an ideal solution for agencies looking to avail the best cloud economics, while also leveraging existing on-premises infrastructures to lower total cost of operations.
A cloud and on-premises storage combination, determined depending on retention periods, could result in significant storage cost differentials.
For instance, hybrid cloud storage can be utilized for non-evidentiary videos with shorter retention periods, while evidentiary footage with more stringent regulations and more extended retention policies can be stored on-premises.
VIDIZMO is also available on Azure and AWS Marketplace.