When digital evidence is part of a criminal case, law enforcement agencies have to supply multiple copies of that evidence—including video—to both the prosecution and defense, and not confuse the original evidence with the copies, all on a budget.
by J.J. Smith
When large amounts of digital evidence are confiscated, being able to make multiple copies of that evidence is of primary interest to the law enforcement community, according to Tom Peterson, who is with the marketing department of Rimage Corp., a producer of digital copying devices located in Minneapolis.
To provide that evidence to the proper parties and still meet the requirements of the evidence chain of custody, Rimage offers the 5400N and 8100N Rimage Disc Copy Stations, said Peterson.
The 5400N Disc Copy Station is a networked disc publishing solution that is as easy to use as a networked printer or copier, according to Rimage. “The 5400N Disc Copy Station is designed for investigators who might be highly trained in their fields, but who are not highly trained in making disc copies,” Peterson said. The 8100N Disc Copy Station offers the same functions of the 5400N, but with “slightly higher capacity, slightly higher quality,” said Peterson, who added that both systems are designed so “an investigator can walk up with one or more discs” and make all the copies needed.
The systems take a photo of the top of the disc being copied, they read the contents of the disc, and make an exact duplicate with the exception the word “copy” appears as a watermark all over the top the copied disc, Peterson said. The watermark distinguishes the copies so the investigator does not have to worry about mixing up the original with a copy.
In addition, the copy quality is not a perfect copy, and it is not intended it to be, Peterson said. Many users want the copy to be clearly identified as a copy, and that is achieved by adding the watermark, or by adding minor color shifts to the content, he said. “Deliberately allowing the copy quality to be less than the original fits the needs of this marketplace,” he said.