Dell has unveiled a digital forensics solution designed to help police forces and security agencies analyse data on digital devices more quickly in order to secure more arrests and convictions.
The solution will tackle the often huge backlog of digital evidence on PCs, gaming consoles and mobile phones that police constabularies have to sift through.
The time taken to index, analyse and archive the digital data in criminal cases has led to a backlog of up to two years in some police forces, according to comments made by the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit at the Infosecurity Europe conference in May.
"Law enforcement agencies across the world have told us about the enormous challenges they face in analysing huge volumes of data on seized digital devices. It is a far cry from the forensics labs we see in television dramas, where evidence is cracked within hours," said Josh Claman, European public sector vice president at Dell.
"We have taken our experience in servers, the cloud and high-performance computing, and created a solution which we believe will transform the way digital evidence is processed, leading to quicker forensic analysis and criminal convictions."
Dell launched the new solution at the International Policing Exhibition and Summer Conference run by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Dell Digital Forensics will bring data administration and the analysis of digital devices into a datacentre to use high-performance servers rather than individual workstations.
The approach will allow multiple devices to be analysed simultaneously by different police personnel, using a common interface that gives access to specialist forensics tools, Dell said. It will also ensure that evidence is not contaminated with malicious code.
Cloned copies of each case will be archived inside the datacentre, rather than being burnt to a DVD and stored with other physical evidence, providing law enforcement agencies with an audit trail of all evidence handling.
Tom Magner, a forensics specialist, said that the solution would help deal with the huge growth in digital analysis stemming from the increase in electronic devices, and as investigators strive to ensure that all evidence relevant to a case is collected.
"Searching this data is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Speed and accuracy while maintaining rigour is key to ensuring the courts have all they need to make a fair, informed and timely decision," he said.
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