Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gloucester Animal Control Meta Data Concerns

As we have been discussing throughout this case, meta data as evidence can be very tricky and can say a lot or say very little.  In this case, it continues to say a great deal.  What we are about to show you is the meta data we have pulled from the Gloucester Animal Control audio files DW_C0152, DW_C0153 and DW_C0154.  These we found to be very unusual.  We will address the issues after we show you these files.

On the meta data from Jeff Stillman's last photo, Jeff Stillman and Steve Baraneck were finished on the property at 12:17 PM.  That means they started back towards their office in the courthouse area at around 12:20 PM..  Average drive time between the victims property and their office is between 20 and 25 minutes putting them into the parking lot for the Animal Control office at about 12:40 and 12:45.

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  A more than fair assessment especially on a Tuesday while school was still in session.  Steve was using a digital IC recorder to audio tape the events.  (Pictured in hand above).  Looking at the meta data, one would say that the time and date stamps seem to be in line with all other evidence.  A few things to take into consideration.  One, there are two types of IC recorders.  One type only allows for transfer of the audio to a computer in real time.  That would mean that the above meta data is virtually impossible to achieve without forging fake meta data.  (Not at all impossible mind you).

  The other type of transfer on the more expensive models allows for USB data transfer cables to download and or even upload audio files.  With that said, let's assume that Gloucester Animal Control uses the type with the data transfer cables.  That would make the above meta data look more authentic then.  Right?  Well not so fast.  We contacted several manufacturers of these IC reorders.  Here is what we learned.

  The units with the data transfer cables also separately record meta data date and time onto each audio file independent of each computer recording of meta data.  What does that mean?  That means it is very easy for forge and fake meta data coming from one of these IC recorders.  How?  Take out the battery for a minute and reset the date and time on the IC Recorder.  I can record a conversation today and create meta data that shows that the conversation took place on May 4th, 2010 and 1:04 PM.  

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This is one of the email responses we received back from the world's largest manufacturer of IC recorders, Sony Corporation.  We own an IC recorder and have the manual for it.  We also have Sony's software for transferring audio data to computers.  We know every type of compression codec's used for conversion of the audio files.  Yes, you can save the files as WAV files, however, there is a second set of meta data on Gloucester Animal Control's files.  Let's look at it.

Sony allows you to save in WAV format, but guess what?  Sony does not use IMA ADCPI compression at all.  IMA ADCPI is used by Microsoft and Apple respectfully as it is a 4 to 1 compression of WAV files.  Sony uses other WAV compression technologies.  What does this mean?  A very high probability that the audio is fake in every respect. 

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The above is from our own manual for our Sony IC recorder.  We have the ICD-BX112 model.  We have to transfer in real time as we did not opt for the USB data transfer cable.  Another note we must make.  IC recorders start and stop each recording with a distinctive beep.  These beeps are missing from Gloucester Animal Control's recordings DW_C0152, DW_C0153 and DW_C0154.  We are continuing to scour the sites of other manufacturers to check their codec technologies.  We have not found one yet that uses the IMA ADCPI technology codec.   As we have said in the past, this is exactly why courts rarely allow this type of evidence.  It must first be put through tremendous scrutiny before it is even allowed to be considered.  Gloucester Circuit Court never even scrutinized these recordings in the least bit.

You can catch up on the entire story over on this site.

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