Image Security Guard
Although there have not been any court cases where a judge has denied admission of digital photographs into evidence based solely on the fact that they are digital, and not analog, photographs, it is still important for the law enforcement community to establish standard operating procedures that preserve the chain of evidence and protect the integrity of digital images so that they will continue to be accepted in court.
One tool some law enforcement agencies are using to protect their digital evidence is the Lexar LockTight system, a unique solution that provides card-level access control to help guarantee image security.
The system consists of four components: a Nikon D2X or D2Hs digital camera, a dedicated CompactFlash card, a special card reader, and the LockTight software package.
LockTight uses an authorization process based on the 160-bit HMAC encryption algorithm, which keeps data on a LockTight card “locked” until the authorization process occurs between the LockTight card and either the camera or computer trying to access the card. Although LockTight uses an encryption algorithm, the data itself is not encrypted, which means that the image is not changed or altered in any way by the system.
The memory card is “unlocked” by entering an approved user name and password, which allows the user to access the camera’s CompactFlash card in the LockTight reader. Once access is granted, the CompactFlash card shows up as a normal drive on the user’s computer desktop, allowing data to be transferred to archival storage per the agency’s standard operating procedures.
Although LockTight limits access to sensitive data contained on LockTight enabled CompactFlash cards, the system is not a replacement for well-written standard operating procedures. However, agencies that use the technology will likely benefit from the added layer of security.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Police (01/06); Spraggs, David .