A revolution in protecting digital court recordsDawn Mahler
As courts face unprecedented risks when it comes to digital court recordings, revolutionary new technology provides verified certainty and protection from tampering.
Recent digital media developments are emphatic proof of the need to better safeguard court media files.
In November 2016, Adobe previewed its VoCo project, or “Photoshop for Voice”. The software makes it possible to rapidly change an audio recording to include words the original speaker didn’t say, in what sounds like their own voice.
Reportedly, using around only 20 minutes of audio samples, the recording can be altered as easily as editing a Word document – with clear ramifications for lawyers, journalists and other professionals who use digital media as evidence.
In July 2017, the University of Washington demonstrated a trained computer system to turn audio clips into convincing, lip-synced video of the person speaking those words. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the system generates animated video imagery from a library of training video and audio material of the speaker.
As these rapid advances in AI and machine learning make their way into mainstream applications, courts face a serious challenge: how do we ensure recordings aren’t tampered with even when they’re outside our control?
FTR is now offering FTR verified recordings using blockchain technology.
One of the most important innovations of of our time, the Blockchain “is an incorruptible digital ledger … that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” (Blockchain Revolution 2016.)
Put simply, a blockchain is a shared and permanent database of records, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Inherently resistant to modification, blockchain technology has proven to be unhackable since 2009 due to its combination of sophisticated algorithms, encryption and shared nature.
How does FTR verified recordings help courts?
- It provides authors of court audio the ability to digitally sign their recordings in real-time as they are created using the immutability of blockchain technology.
- As digital media manipulation becomes more capable and accessible, it removes doubt – as digital recordings of court proceedings are unalterable and independently verified.
- It provides a certain, confident response to any allegations of tampering from litigants.
How does it work?
- Court recordings produced with the new technology will be accompanied by a unique encrypted digital signature registered into the blockchain.
- Whenever those recordings are played back via an FTR online service, such as Court.fm or FTR Web Player, they will be automatically verified against the FTR blockchain.
- The encrypted digital signature can even be independently validated through other third party and publicly available blockchain services without compromising any information within the recording.