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Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Nashville Police Department and Magnet Forensics take on digital evidence backlog

It’s not uncommon for law enforcement digital forensic bureaus to have backlogs of one to two years

Nashville Police Department and Magnet Forensics take on digital evidence backlog
Image via Magnet Forensics.

The Metro Nashville Police Department and Magnet Forensics (TSX: MAGT) joined forces today to clean up a digital evidence backlog.

Metro Nashville is using a technology called Magnet Automate. It’s a cloud-based automation platform that enables businesses to automate their processes and workflows.

Additionally, it provides a drag-and-drop interface for creating automated workflows, as well as an API for integrating with other applications. Magnet Automate also offers features such as task scheduling, data integration, and analytics. More than 4,000 enterprises and public safety agencies in over 100 countries use this technology.

Further, digital evidence has played an increasingly strong role in police investigations. The average case involving Metro Nashville Police Department violent crimes investigators involves three devices recovered from victims, witnesses and suspects. Additionally, some cases can involve over 20 smartphones, computers and other electronics, according to the unit’s investigators.

The volume of devices and the complexity of the evidence can be overwhelming for digital investigators, and lead to delays in investigations.

“Public safety in Nashville dictates that we must continue to deploy cutting edge technology to help us advance investigations and identify dangerous criminals as part of our precision policing model,” said Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake.

The Metro Nashville police department’s forensics unit wiped out its months-long violent crime caselog in a matter of days. Now the entire station is using the system to investigate the fentanyl overdose epidemic.

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Digital evidence backlog in BC slows down wheels of justice

It’s not uncommon for law enforcement digital forensic bureaus to have backlogs of one to two years.

According to a digital task force commissioned by the International Association of Chiefs of Police there are there are three primary barriers.

The first is a lack of capacity, which includes a lack of specializing training and equipment and other resources. The second are technical barriers to access, including unregulated encryption and communications technologies. Finally, non technical barriers, including customer notification requirements and legal barriers that constrain the proof required to access evidence.

Beyond that there’s the scale of evidence.

In the past 10 to 15 years, the number of cases involving electronic devices has increased.

Michael Shapray, a criminal defense lawyer from Surrey, British Columbia, states that there is a lack of resources being invested in analyzing those devices.

“Prosecutors in British Columbia are the ones who assess police investigations for charge approval, and if it’s a delay in getting lab results or having items analyzed, we’re seeing a much longer period of time until someone knows whether or not they’re going to be facing criminal charges and able to deal with that, and that has ramifications across the entire justice system,” said Shapray.

Some of these ramifications include slowing down investigations, prolonging pre-trial detection and could theoretically lead to wrongful convictions or acquittals.

“We’re seeing cases where they can’t even get to look at a phone, let alone download and analyze the data, for months, upon months, upon months.

Magnet Forensics is trading at $44.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Andre

    July 17, 2023 at 10:17 am

    I would like to know exactly how the backlogs were addressed. You still need skilled examiners to analyze and report on the evidence. There are also cloud security concerns for government related to HIPAA, PII, PCI, CJIS and other sensitive data types (FedRamp, FIPS, etc.). I hope these LE agencies are getting their data practices people involved before shipping all of this data to a vendor cloud solution. There are certainly things that can speed up investigations on the evidence acquisition side and triage of evidence should be done to identify high value targets first. Ultimately, you still need qualified/trained individuals doing the work and a human can only do analysis or report writing on one case at a time. Processing of evidence and other tasks can be done in parallel. I also wonder what type of reporting many agencies are undertaking. It can take hours or days to write a single report if you are actually doing this step and doing it properly.

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