Editorial: Memory

Remember when all we had from the past were memories… and maybe a few faded photographs? Well, forget all that.

Now we have RAM and ROM and the cloud. Now we have smartphones and tablets and glasses—gadgets that hover constantly within reach, ready to connect our physical realities to virtual memories via the Internet.

What an opportunity this technological ubiquity presents for law enforcement! As soon as video cameras became readily accessible and more portable in the 1990s, we started seeing “dumb criminals” recording their exploits—their vanity (and stupidity) providing the perfect highlight reel to show to jurors.

Now, technology has progressed far beyond Handycams. Texts, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagrams… Photos, videos, voicemails… GPS, Wi-Fi, location services… Passwords, search histories, emails. It’s all there, stored on devices and on the cloud.

There is so much and technology is changing so fast—and, as a natural result, there is so much to learn. Law enforcement has the tools and equipment and standard operating procedures in place to handle these relatively new sources of evidence, but it will require a constant effort to keep up to date and maximize resources in order to handle the glut of devices and data.

In this issue, we have included articles on admissibility of mobile forensics (page 14), accessing computers in their natural state (only in the Digital Edition*), a case study on one agency’s new advanced video forensics unit (page 10), and a look at the future of technology at the crime scene (page 24). All of these articles, available to you online, in the Digital Edition, and—don’t forget—in print, too.

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Evidence Technology Magazine

*The ETM Digital Edition can be accessed at http://evidencemagazine.com/v12n4.htm

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ONE OF THE CHALLENGES of writing and editing a magazine is telling a story in a relatively small amount of space. Sometimes it seems like there is never enough room to say everything that needs to be said. I find myself making tough decisions about what parts stay and what parts go.