A Loss for a Trial Attorney

Several years ago, when I was practicing as a personal injury lawyer, I had a case that haunts me still today. A young family lost their father to a tragic car wreck. The future of their financial stability was tied up in finding the responsible parties for his death.

The accident happened in the middle of the day on a busy highway. Unfortunately, it appeared to be a single car accident, with no witnesses. The man had some how lost control and driven over the side of an embankment. He was not found for nearly a day. The only piece of evidence available was his cellular telephone.



Read More
Angie Breland
What did you use your phone for today?

Think about it.  Really go into detail as to what you did with your cellular device.  Did you use it for the alarm?  How many times did you hit snooze?  How many alarms did you actually set?  What time did you finally cut off the alarms and get moving?

Read More
Matt Plank
What Evidence Can be Admitted at Trial?

The  court  system  of  the  Unites  States  safeguards  litigants  by  limiting  what  types  of evidence  may  be  presented  to  a  judge  or  jury. The  objection  heard  most  often,  and  the  hardest  to understand,  is  the  rule  regarding  relevance. To  a  lay  person,  it  would  seem  all  evidence  and  testimony  would  be  relevant  to  deciding  what  really  happened  in  a  case.  This  common-sense  thought  is  limited  in  Rule  403  of  the  rules  of  evidence. Below  is  the  federal  rule,  but  most  states  have  adopted  a  similar  version  for  their  proceedings.

Read More
Angie Breland
What is Circumstantial Evidence?

It is  a  common  misconception  that  circumstantial  evidence  can  not  be  used  against  you. This  is  simply  not  the  case. Courts  find  that  circumstantial  evidence  is  a  good  as  eye  witness  testimony. Often,  the  only  evidence  in  a  case  is  circumstantial. A  favorite  example  is  footprints  in  the  snow. You  wake  one  morning  and  look  outside  your  window. There  are  footprints  outside  your  room. You  never  heard  anyone.  You  never  saw  anyone. The  circumstance  of  the  footprints  tell  you  without  a  doubt,  however,  someone  was  there.   

Read More
Angie Breland
Defensible, Reliable, Truthful, Unimpeachable Evidence

Black Swan  Digital  Forensics  bases  its  evidence  on  four  pillars:   

Defensible   

Everything we do is backed by science. We follow  a  strict  scientific  method  in  extracting  various  data  from  all  arenas. The methodology  has  been  tested  and  proven.  The way  we  perform  our  duties  allows  us  to  tie  the  data  to  unique  content  creators. We take the guess  work  out  of who  did  or said  anything,  anywhere,  anytime. Everything we  do  is  fully  documented. This is part of our  aforementioned  methodology. There are  no  cracks  to  fall  in,  slippery  slopes  or  sticky  wickets. A technicality  will  not  cost  you  your  case. Finally, our  findings  are  presented  in  easily  consumable  formats,  not  mounds  of  raw  data. You don't  need  a  PhD  in  computer  science  to understand  what  we  provide. 

Read More
Pete Myers
Do You Google?

Google receives over 100,000 requests for activity reports about its users every year.  This number is steadily growing.  Often, the police request information about Google use in a particular area.  This information included what towers were "pinged" by certain phones to show location.  Police used the collection of locations for hundreds of people to narrow down which individuals were in certain areas during the commission of a crime. By compiling all the "pings" of the cell phones around crimes thought t be related, the detectives working the case were able to narrow their list of suspects to just those present in at each of the crimes.  They did not just narrow it to what individuals were at each scene, but what handful were present at EVERY scene.

Read More
Jordan Smith
Who Can Black Swan Digital Forensics Help?

Plaintiffs No case is ever won without solid facts. At Black Swan we can provide you the facts you need to prove your case by detailing social media, cellular devices, vehicle information systems, and myriad of other gadgets. Do not go to battle unarmed. Black Swan can be your silver bullet.

Read More
Pete Myers
Video Forensics Detail

The prevalence of image-capturing technology in our world today poses unique possibilities, as well as distinct frustrations when the evidence is there, but the details are lackluster and distractions are taking center stage. If you're a sports fan, you know that millions of dollars have gone into getting cameras as close to the action as possible as a way of bringing the at-home viewer even closer to the field than the fan in the stands. The activity of the athletes is tracked so well, in fact, that it was decided in recent years that umpires and referees could review the footage as a means of determining calls made on the field. Many calls are even overturned, now, after a closer inspection may reveal details that the human eye erred in evaluating. 

Read More
Company Owned Celluar Extraction

CAN WE TEST FOR THAT?
It is commonplace for potential employees to undergo pre-hiring urinalyses. It is
also good practice for employees to be subject to random urinalyses, as well as
mandatory testing following any incidents related to work. That begs the question,
"What other aspects of privacy can be broached to protect an employer?"
A standard perk for many individuals within a corporation is a company cell
phone. With the advent of the smart phone, this has put a powerful computer in
employees' hands. If the employer is paying the bill, to what extent have they the right
to know what is being done with the equipment? In general, there is no right to privacy with regards to the use of company owned equipment and company owned email. State privacy laws vary, adding certain nuances to the general rule. The United States Stored Communications Act, found at 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq. limits who may access communications stored elsewhere online, although viewed on another device.

Read More
WHAT IS THE Internet of Things (IoT)?

A newer concept in our rapidly developing culture is what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). It may sound like a vague description, but actually, it refers to exactly what it is. These days, smart homes and connectivity are becoming more and more commonplace. Twenty years ago, a phone that could communicate with your coffee maker or a watch that could talk to your television seemed believable only in the wildest imaginations of moviemakers creating a society set far into the future. Astoundingly, the future has arrived and the reality of a home functioning on voice command or being controlled remotely is here. The brain behind these capabilities is the internet. This means that transmitted data is the heart of the conversation between every "thing" in a home that can send and receive information. Thus, it is very literally the Internet of Things.

Read More
Angie Breland
Social Media

With over a billion new posts being uploaded to social media every hour, it has become, perhaps, one of the most valuable resources for documented and archived information that has ever been available. The challenge is no longer in not having enough information; now, there is so much information that it's all but impossible to manually sort through it all and pull away only what is important. Black Swan has the proprietary technology to do that work for you, providing a more thorough investigation at a fraction of the time. Can you afford to miss that key element because it was hiding under a mountain of superfluous activity?

Read More
Vehicle System Forensics

One of the most iconic visual images of recent generations is the slow-moving white Bronco occupied by OJ Simpson in 1994. To this day, there is much that is unknown concerning that low-speed chase. Imagine the difference it would've made if a passenger had been present to give an account of what was going on that June day. Today, Black Swan is that passenger. An area that is largely unexplored and not yet frequently considered in the field of data analysis is vehicle systems forensics. The reason for this oversight is likely because, until recently, only state and federal forensic labs were given access to a vehicle's black box. Let's briefly explore what this black box is and why it is so valuable. Modern vehicles are not much unlike computers and handheld devices in that their activity is permanently stored in a database that can be accessed at a later date to determine everything from when a door was opened to rates of speed and braking patterns. You can know where a vehicle was located at the exact moment its lights were turned on.

Read More
TechnologyMatt Plank
Cellular Data Extraction and Analysis

These days, the value of a cell phone can be unparalleled in a situation where answers are imperative and proof is necessary. Gone is the time when a phone was just a phone. As our lives have been streamlined, we now hold our daily planner, camera, address book, and so much more right in the palm of our hands. Think of all the things for which you use your phone on a daily basis:  Incoming and outgoing calls; texts; photos and videos; web browsing; social media activity; instant messaging; schedule keeping; notetaking; audio recording; and location tracking are just some of the common reasons our society appears to have its nose in a phone more and more frequently.

Read More
Matt Plank
Making the unknown known. How do we do it?

Black Swan Digital Forensics is dedicated to one job and one job only:  Making the unknown known. How do we do it?

In part, through data extraction and analysis of:

               •             Cellular Devices

              

               Any activity that happens on a phone remains permanently logged and archived. This includes texts, calls, photo and videos, internet searches, location and movement, emails, contacts, social media, and chat history. Even if the phone is dead and inoperable, Black Swan can access its data. Deleted and hidden items? Black Swan can access that data, too.

Read More
TechnologyMatt Plank
Jury Pool Services

When most people think of useful applications for digital forensics, pre-trial investigation and building a case around the findings are likely what come to mind. While these are certainly vital uses, Black Swan is the first digital forensics team to go a giant leap forward in the courtroom by helping to eliminate what has arguably been the biggest liability in any trial:  the jury.

Read More
Matt Plank
Computer and Table Data Extraction and Analysis

When it comes to data extraction, computers and tablets operate unlike other devices due to the sheer volume of data they collect and store. Every megabyte of a computer/tablet is brimming with information, so the job of sifting through it is all but impossible without the right tools. Only Black Swan has the proprietary technology necessary and is devoted solely to digital forensics, meaning we don't just know how to find what you need, but we also do it with a turnaround time that no one else can offer.

Read More
TechnologyMatt Plank
The Need for Digital Forensics

Throughout the course of history, society has been plagued by countless unsolved crimes that remain a mystery for centuries. Who was Jack the Ripper? Should Lizzy Borden have been acquitted of the brutal murders of Andrew and Abby Borden? Black Dahlia, The Zodiac Killings, and even the more recent cases of TuPac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., or JonBenet Ramsey and Caylee Anthony all have one theme in common:  murderers were left to roam freely because law enforcement could never piece together enough clues to solve the case.

Read More