New York Times: Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder. “Using an unconventional technique that relies on DNA submitted to online genealogy sites, investigators have solved dozens of violent crimes, in many cases decades after they hit dead ends. Experts believe the technique could be used to revive investigations into a vast number of cases that have gone cold across the country, including at least 100,000 unsolved major violent crimes and 40,000 unidentified bodies.”
The Scotsman: Scots asked to take pictures of their footwear to catch criminals. “The University of Dundee’s Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) is undertaking the largest ever study into the variation in footwear marks made by the same shoes across different surfaces and activities so the variation observed can be used to explore links between the shoe and the mark it makes. To do this, they are asking thousands of individuals to take part in a large-scale citizen science project by taking pictures of their footwear and the marks they make.”
Miami Herald: Researchers compile body scans for new database. “Researchers are converting thousands of full-body scans done by the state Office of the Medical Investigator as part of an effort to build a searchable database that can help anthropologists, criminal investigators and others.”
NPR: ‘Ballistic Fingerprint’ Database Expands Amid Questions About Its Precision. “NIBIN was started in 1999 and has primarily been used by forensics examiners to testify at trial about the likelihood that a bullet was fired from a particular gun. But that’s all changing now. The Department of Justice is allocating money and resources to put NIBIN terminals into the hands of local police departments….But some defense attorneys challenge the notion that the markings are unique, and the FBI says even expert testimony can’t make that claim with certainty.”
Nieman Lab: How The Wall Street Journal is preparing its journalists to detect deepfakes. “We at The Wall Street Journal are taking this threat seriously and have launched an internal deepfakes task force led by the Ethics & Standards and the Research & Development teams. This group, the WSJ Media Forensics Committee, is comprised of video, photo, visuals, research, platform, and news editors who have been trained in deepfake detection. Beyond this core effort, we’re hosting training seminars with reporters, developing newsroom guides, and collaborating with academic institutions such as Cornell Tech to identify ways technology can be used to combat this problem.”
ABC 6: Report: Thousands of DNA profiles missing from databases. “An investigation into the legally required collection of DNA from adults arrested for felonies or convicted of some misdemeanors in Ohio shows thousands of DNA profiles missing from state and national crime databases.”
CORDIS: Exposing state crimes and human rights abuses through architecture. “In the past, evidence on war crimes and human rights violations was based on interviews conducted long after the event. But modern technology has changed this. With the widespread use of digital recording equipment, satellite communication, remote sensing technology and the internet, vast amounts of data are now available to provide novel types of evidence when crimes are perpetrated.” I had never heard of forensic architecture until I came across this article. The New York Times has an article about it from April.