March 21, 2015

This little free tool called Exif is a very important asset to law enforcement and private investigators alike. We often get engaged by clients for example to track copyright infringements and Intellectual property violations. Recently we were tasked to help a client who spotted a criminal individual selling stolen goods on the web. We have downloaded the images and started analysing them. One of the tools is Exif as it often reveals location data of where the pictures were taken. The ordinary criminal is usually not smart enough to turn off location data or modify pictures to clear out those values. Luckily enough in this case we were able to even match the pictures to a street address after some further investigation. We have then provided the info to the client who then involved law enforcement.

Law enforcement themselves are making extensive use of such tools. A lot of criminal activity is posted in form of pictures online. May that be stolen goods from looters (like in the London riots), pictures of terrorists and so forth. Very often smartphone automatically attach location information to taken pictures and this information can then be obtained easily. It also give vital clues about times when the picture was taken, resolution, camera hardware, settings and so on.

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExifTool

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