BuzzFeed News: This DNA Testing Firm Said It Wanted To Bring Closure To Families Of Murder Victims. Then It Blocked A Rival From Using Its Database To Solve Crimes.

BuzzFeed News: This DNA Testing Firm Said It Wanted To Bring Closure To Families Of Murder Victims. Then It Blocked A Rival From Using Its Database To Solve Crimes.. “Since April 2018, when the method scored its first big success with the Golden State Killer case, dozens of alleged murderers or rapists have been identified by genetic genealogy…. The fact that cops were doing this in databases set up to allow people to research their family histories, initially without users being informed, has led to a tense debate over genetic privacy. The new emails, which BuzzFeed obtained as part of an ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, highlight another flashpoint: rivalries between companies working with cops to solve highly publicized cases.”

Trib Live: CMU researchers develop tool to pinpoint source of gunshots using smartphone videos

Trib Live: CMU researchers develop tool to pinpoint source of gunshots using smartphone videos. “A tool developed at Carnegie Mellon University to determine the location of gunshots correctly pinpointed where the shots came from in the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, CMU researchers said.”

Phys .org: Here’s what police know about digital evidence

Phys .org: Here’s what police know about digital evidence. “In today’s criminal justice system, a Play Station and iPhone are just as important pieces of evidence as eyewitness accounts. Yet, there isn’t a strong understanding as to how police officers identify digital evidence—everything from a laptop to a smart television—in the field.”

The Verge: Genetic database that identified Golden State Killer acquired by crime scene DNA company

The Verge: Genetic database that identified Golden State Killer acquired by crime scene DNA company. “The crime scene DNA sequencing company Verogen announced yesterday that they’ve acquired the genomics database and website GEDmatch. The acquisition makes the relationship between the company and law enforcement explicit, but raises uncomfortable questions for users and experts about data privacy and the future direction of the platform.”

Engadget: NIST preserve JFK assassination bullets with 3D scans (updated)

Engadget: NIST preserve JFK assassination bullets with 3D scans (updated). “The 56th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was last month. Early next year, you’ll be able to see, in almost nauseating detail, the bullets that took his life. The National Archives will upload high-definition 3D images of the projectiles to its online catalog.”

Bullet points: AI forging a path for better forensic medicine (Monash University)

Monash University: Bullet points: AI forging a path for better forensic medicine. “The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) – which also operates as Monash University’s Department of Forensic Medicine, performs autopsy services for all deaths reported to the Victorian State Coroner. It holds a globally unique data collection – more than 75,000 full-body computed tomography (CT) scans of dead people, an archive that increases by 7000 cases a year. All causes of death are represented, including traumatic injury, homicide and suicide. All age groups and genders are represented.”

EurekAlert: Carnegie Mellon system locates shooters using smartphone video

EurekAlert: Carnegie Mellon system locates shooters using smartphone video. “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system that can accurately locate a shooter based on video recordings from as few as three smartphones. When demonstrated using three video recordings from the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded, the system correctly estimated the shooter’s actual location — the north wing of the Mandalay Bay hotel.”

EurekAlert: New tool predicts eye, hair and skin color from a DNA sample of an unidentified individual

EurekAlert: New tool predicts eye, hair and skin color from a DNA sample of an unidentified individual. “This all-in-one pigmentation profile tool provides a physical description of the person in a way that has not previously been possible by generating all three pigment traits together using a freely available webtool. The tool is designed to be used when standard forensic DNA profiling is not helpful because no reference DNA exists against which to compare the evidence sample.”

Phys .org: New insect database to help with forensic investigations

Phys .org: New insect database to help with forensic investigations . “Researchers at Cranfield University are using blowflies and other insects to develop a database which will provide a complementary method of estimating time since death in forensic investigations.”

BT: Scanners employed to catalogue knife wounds

BT: Scanners employed to catalogue knife wounds. “High-tech scanners are being used to create a ‘catalogue’ of knife wounds that can be matched to different blades. Detectives say the database will mean they can identify what kind of knife has been used in a stabbing, making it easier to catch criminals. The method involves using state of the art CT scanning technology like that seen in hospitals, to create an image of the injury which can then be saved and stored.”

New York Times: Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder

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 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.”

NPR: ‘Ballistic Fingerprint’ Database Expands Amid Questions About Its Precision

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

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.”