A Loss for a Trial Attorney
What did you use your phone for today?
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.
What Evidence Can be Admitted at Trial?
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?
What is Circumstantial Evidence?
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.
Defensible, Reliable, Truthful, Unimpeachable 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.
Do You Google?
Black Swan Digital Forensics bases its evidence on four pillars:
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.
Who Can Black Swan Digital Forensics Help?
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.
What is Digital Forensics?
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.
Video Forensics Detail
What exactly is computer forensics and how can it help you? "Digital DNA" is the data extracted from digital devices. It can detect insider threats for a company, identify information to solve a criminal case and even uncover fraud and hacking on your endpoints, servers, and network.
Company Owned Celluar Extraction
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.
WHAT IS THE Internet of Things (IoT)?
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.
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.
Vehicle System Forensics
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?
Cellular Data Extraction and Analysis
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.
Making the unknown known. How do we do it?
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.
Jury Pool Services
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.
Computer and Table Data Extraction and Analysis
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.
Three Examples of Digital Evidence Changing a Case
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.
The Need for Digital Forensics
Why is the field of digital forensics so important? The simple answer is Justice. Whether convicting a killer or freeing an innocent man, it is often digital forensics that turn the key to the jail cell. Here are three times that digital forensics changed a case.
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.