Whilst attending IACP 2023 in San Diego, Jed Stone (Issured) and Donnie Sawin (CPI) had an interview for Small Town Cop and First Responder TV.
Check out the full video interview where they discuss the current issue surrounding deepfakes and digital disinformation, and how law enforcement can prove legitimacy of digital evidence.
Interviewer: Welcome back. Well, this is the digital world and if you’re looking to protect your assets, look no further. I have the answer with Jed Stone. And, Jed, I tell you what, your company is forward looking and is really innovative to help these departments. Tell us a little bit about your company.
Jed Stone: Yeah, so we actually started working with Defence and Security in the UK, so policing is in our background. We all come from that background. But we were delivering a programme called Digital Intelligence and Investigation for the Home Office in the UK, and its primary role was to look at what threats were coming from a digital society, what problems are going to be facing with law enforcement and policing.
One of those things, and we’ve all seen the problem with the deepfake and digital disinformation, we said, how can we actually protect law enforcement from that? Because if it becomes so hard to actually spot when there’s a deepfake. What if people don’t actually start believing what they see in front of them? We’re going to need to prove that digital material is evidential, that it’s tamper evident. So we started to develop products to actually help law enforcement tackle that problem.
Interviewer: We have seen so much of that in the news as well. And sometimes before it’s debunked, the issue is closed and people have moved on.
Jed Stone: Yeah. And so for us, we see a lot of deepfake detection, and that’s great, but actually, let’s stop it at the outset. And really, the best analogy that we can use for what we do is we take digital evidence and we seal it into a digital evidence bag. So you can always prove whether it’s been tampered with.
Now, if you have a case and you’re reliant on digital evidence, and we believe that just about every case now has an element of digital evidence, how do you actually prove that it hasn’t been tampered with? So that mechanism that we provide does exactly that. It’s like what you do with physical evidence, except it’s for digital. It’s a digital evidence bag.
Interviewer: Well, I have to imagine that really removes the frustration factor for law enforcement, because now when it goes into court, it says, this has been tampered with, but with yours, it’s going to say, no, we need to proceed ahead and see what the evidence has to say.
Jed Stone: Absolutely. And we believe that once one case has actually been thrown out because a challenge on digital evidence has occurred, we know that’s just going to happen all the time. The defence lawyers are going to say, you’ve tampered with this. My client never said that, this never happened. And it’s costly to actually prove that you haven’t tampered with it. If you can actually just prove it in an instant that it hasn’t been tampered with, it saves everyone money.
I think the other important thing is it actually saves a reputation of policing as well. We don’t want prosecutions to fail. And actually, all our products are focused towards the public and the public that we serve, making their lives easier, letting them actually trust the material that they actually have, they can actually know that it hasn’t been tampered with as well, so everyone benefits.
Interviewer: That is amazing. Now, who are we going to be meeting to talk about the operational and application?
Jed Stone: That’d be Donnie. Donnie works with CPI, who are our partners in the US. So Donnie’s actually a cop at Wilton PD in New Hampshire, so he knows far more about the operational aspects than me.
Interviewer: Easy enough. Jed, thanks for being on.
Jed Stone: Thank you, Bill.
Interviewer: Joining me right now is Donnie Sawin. And, Donnie, I tell you what, this is just an amazing opportunity for law enforcement to remove some of that frustration to prove their point. Now, you’ve actually had boots on the ground and applications of this. Tell us a little bit about it.
Donnie Sawin: So, the issue is with the new AI and deepfakes and lots of things you’re seeing in the news, even most people don’t know if it’s actually even true. They have no idea. It looks real, but is it really? And there’s almost no way to detect that with the current technology. What this does is it makes it immutable. It hashes it immediately. As soon as you’re done, if we did this interview and if you used it through our software, it’s going to lock it up so no one can change it. You change one pixel and it’s done. It takes the certification away so that people know that it’s been tampered with. So you can’t do anything. It has to stay exactly as it is. It makes it immutable. So that takes away the possibility that it’s a deepfake, that “that’s not my client that did that”, or “that wasn’t me”.
Interviewer: And that’s kind of nice, because now we’re going to restore some trust in the community and juries and the defence side can no longer use that as a crutch. Well, “that may have been tampered with”. No. Immediately probably within seconds. We can move that out.
Donnie Sawin: 100%. So it’s going to save time, it’s going to save money, it’s going to save resources. That’s one aspect of it. The other piece of it is that I don’t need to send an investigator or an officer states away to go do an interview. It could be a suspect, could be a witness. You need to talk to them. And the sooner the better. Because the longer it goes, the less information people retain, typically. So you can do this almost instantaneously. There’s nothing to download on their end. We send them a link, they click into it. Simple as that. And then we can get the interview process.
So forgetting about the security aspect of it and the blockchain security, it’s just a fast platform to use as well. So it’s done immediately and people will retain the information. You can get your job done and you don’t have to travel 8/10/12 hours just in a car or fly someplace. The expense is amazing. And it’s a green initiative which most places in the US are moving towards. They don’t want you burning gas and fuels and getting on an airplane. This is a phone call. It’s quick, set it up and you run a tablet, cell phone, whatever they have.
Interviewer: I have to believe this is going to become the best friend of law enforcement and prosecutors. It’s also going to save us money, as you mentioned. And the turnaround is really quick. And not only that, things can be shown that evidence has been locked in within minutes, so you don’t have to dwell on it. Donnie, thanks so much for being on.
Donnie Sawin: Thanks so much.