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This is the only forum I hang out at so I lay this question out here... I work in construction and take many pictures for informational purposes (record keeping and what not) and am curious if I should be using film instead. IANAL and also don't try to have too much involvement in legal matters but when they come up, they come up and it's best to have all my ducks in a row. My major goal is to not even get to a point where lawyers are involved and use the pics as more of a communication tool but will they hold up in court if needed? BTW, my camera of choice is the Pentax OptioS
 

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If you are looking to use a digital camera for legal puposes use one of the Sony Mavica CD cameras. Use a Cd-R disc and do not delete any pictures even if they are bad. What this gives you is basicaly a digital negative on the CD-R. This will stand up in court since the CD-R is a write once. If you deleted a picture it could be said it was the picture that could prove something opposite of what the other pictures show.
 

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Ya, definitely wrong forum, however, it is something that you need to check with your State, County & City laws. Missouri allows it, however many a states don't. If you do use digital for documentation & plan to use it in court, then sometimes they allow pictures/video that have a digital watermark embedded in it - this capability usually has a pretty hefty price tag - High end security equipment commercial endusers get.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Kosh58
What this gives you is basicaly a digital negative on the CD-R. This will stand up in court since the CD-R is a write once. If you deleted a picture it could be said it was the picture that could prove something opposite of what the other pictures show.
This is incorrect unless there is a digital watermark created with the image, otherwise there is no way to differentiate that CD-R from one you created with your computer.


The most common watermark method is a number that is placed with the pic that contains the number of pixels & numbers associated with different pixel colors & tints. If the image is tampered with, then the current image presented in courts' numbers won't line up with the watermark file #. This is a very basic method & even this most times will not hold up in court.


I think another thing you must consider is the size of the claim. If it's small, then they're not going to care. If your talking 100's of thousands of dollars to even a couple mil which happens everyday, then a good chance that a good lawyer will get the digital image dismissed somehow regardless of it's security backup.
 

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Output from security video cameras (banks, elevators) are accepted currently to prosecute criminals. As the technology moves to digital video and hard drives, this presents the same question: How do you know that the video is the untampered original? Do these devices come with built-in watermarking? The novel "Rising Sun" by Michael Crichton raised some of these issues.


Al
 

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It would be niave to assume that because something was on a film negative it must be true. Even film based evidence has to be collected, maintained and submitted in accordance with strict process. It's just with digital, the equipement that can be used is mainstream.


Paul
 

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Not to start a flame war but the CD-R's are allowed in California and Federal Law Enforcement agencies are also considering the CD-R use. Sony is working with agencies in California and the courts are accepting the digital photos.
 
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