Often time we can look at a picture of a photograph and see things that
help us to try and tell a story. Digital photos – that is, those
taken from digital cameras and mobile phones, tell us the hidden story;
even if we really don’t want it told.
Information We Can Gather from a Film Photo
A film picture makes us guess to tell a story. While lighting and shadows
can tell us what time a picture was taken, everything beyond the obvious
is left to guess work. If we’re lucky, some film cameras would leave
a yellow or orange date and time-stamp on the side of the photo, however,
those could be easily manipulated by changing the settings on your device.
EXIF & Meta Data in Digital Photos
With the popularization of smart phones capable of taking 12 mega-pixel
photos and 4K video, most photographs uploaded to the internet today are
taken by a digital device. Their higher resolution allows for more vivid
detail to be captured.
Beyond aesthetics, digital photos tell us a whole lot more via the metadata
embedded in them. Hidden information called meta data or EXIF can be embedded
in most digital photos. EXIF stands for “Exchangeable Image File”.
Information that can be collected from EXIF data in digital photo includes:
- Date and time at which it was taken
- Whether the photo has been altered or modified
- GPS coordinates where it was taken
- Type of camera or phone which took the image
- Exposure settings
- Aperture Settings
- Flash Settings
How to Read EXIF Data
If you are using a Windows computer, you can use the file explorer to read
the EXIF data. Simply choose an image you wish to read the EXIF data from,
right-click and select
Properties. Once you have done this, a window will pop up with several tabs at the
top of the window. Select the
Details tab to read the EXIF data associated with your photo.
Can You Remove EXIF Data from a Photo?
Yes. In the same properties window you used to read the EXIF data, scroll
down to the bottom of the details tab to find a link that reads “Remove
Properties and Personal Information” using this provides you with
the option to stripe out however much information you want from the photo.
How Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Use Digital Photos to Defend Their Clients?
Like any other piece of evidence, digital photos and evidence are only
valuable if they can have integrity and credibility. An experienced
criminal defense lawyer knows that prosecutors often try and use digital photos and videos in
sexual assault, drug trafficking, and
aggravated assault cases. It’s common for surveillance videos to show a timestamp indicating
that they were recorded on a certain date and time. But by looking at
the metadata, the timestamp is often proved wrong. This can make a big
difference as to the value of the evidence, often leaving prosecutors
scratching their heads as to the unreliability of their evidence.
Criminal defense attorneys can also use digital photos and evidence to
establish alibis for their clients. If a digital photo shows a client
at a party at the same time they were supposedly at the scene of a crime,
the metadata can be invaluable in showing that the client is not responsible.
Jason Lamm Understands Digital Evidence
As a former cybercrimes prosecutor, Jason has used digital evidence to
successfully defend clients charged with
child pornography, domestic terrorism, and kidnapping cases. By tapping into the “hidden
evidence behind the evidence,” Jason has distinguished himself as
Phoenix’s most cutting edge Phoenix criminal defense lawyer who
relies on new and novel technology to achieve unparalleled results for
Whether you are charged with a high-tech crime involving digital photos
or evidence, or a good old-fashioned bank robbery, Jason Lamm can make
a difference in your case.
Call (602) 663-9100 to set up a
confidential consultation to learn what his 20+ years of experience can do for you.