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comments on authenticating video
September 30, 2017
comments on authenticating video from September 28, 2017 article
     When I worked for a manufacturer (now retired), I was called on several occasions to retrieve video from our recorders in order to maintain chain of custody.  I would go to the city where the recorder was installed, go with the police and the dealer to the site, properly download the video always making a minimum of 4 copies (police, owner, defense, emergency copy that stayed with the police) with exactly the same video (usually 10 minutes before the incident, the incident, and 10 minutes after the incident or until authorities showed up, whichever was shorter).  While our video was watermarked and we could verify it’s authenticity, I was only asked to do that one time, and that was on a child molestation case at a daycare.  So, out of 20 +/- retrievals only one authentication was requested, and that was because the defendant (who worked for the owner) was contesting the validity of the video.  Of those 20 +/- I was only asked to testify at that one trial as to how the video was obtained.
     Assuming you have a good working relationship with your video equipment supplier, this is something you can ask them to handle for you, and for the most part they are going to be happy to oblige.  Knowing the reps for the manufacturers of your equipment is important, and having a good working relationship is more important than many dealers realize.  Even if you buy your equipment through distribution, having a good relationship with your manufacturers is important.
Dave Watkins
Word to the wise - when it comes to CCTV copies of events - always have customer or dealer make 2 copies!!!  Thought I would share a recent event that points out a little human fallibility on the part of the police.  Our customer, a regional company in retail with multiple locations, captured a shop lifting event on video.  They contacted the authorities who viewed the video and then the police requested a copy.  They were furnished a "thumb drive" copy of the event.
Based on the video they made an arrest as the value of what was shoplifted was enough to be worthy of arrest and prosecution.  At the trial the accused shoplifter was overjoyed to find out the police had lost the "thumb drive". Lesson learned - make two copies of any critical event and keep one!
Seth Oginz
    With regards to video watermarks and authentication.
    This subject has come up several times over my career in dealing with lawyers and court cases that have video footage as part of the case presentation. While one can argue minute details of video extraction, the admissibility is eventually decided by the Judge of the case. Two questions always asked: "Is this a true and unaltered copy of the video recorded from the device?" and "Was it obtained by using the manufacturer's procedure for copying the recorded video from the machine?"
    If the answer is affirmative to both, it would then become the responsibility of the other party to prove otherwise...and we all know that is costly and not easy to do.
    De-warping an image using the DVR/NVR manufacturer's software versus enhancing the image with a 3rd party software are two different things. No, I am not an attorney is just what I have been exposed to as a technical witness, or sitting in the jury box. 
JJ Koehler
    If you do camera work for commercial accounts be sure to use the Commercial All in One.  For residential subscribers the Residential All in One covers cameras.  If all you do is commercial cameras you can use the Camera Agreement.  I think the Commercial All in One offers more value for your money because it covers all commercial security systems.


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
516 747 6700