WA Police, together with ECU staff and students have developed a highly tailored digital forensic tool which enables at scene triage of a computer suspected of containing illegal images. The innovative tool, called SImPLE (Simple Image Preview in Live Environment), enables WA Police to preview and extract images contained on suspects’ computer storage devices in a forensically sound manner. Following completion of basic training on how to use the technology, personnel can undertake rapid, reliable assessment of computer systems at site. This tool has significantly reduced demand on WA Police personnel hours and secured convictions particularly relating to child exploitation.
The SImPLE project team has been led by Professor Craig Valli, Director of the ECU Security Research Institute (SRI) within the School of Science. Professor Valli explains that “whenever you open a file on a computer you write to the hard drive and change that state of the hard drive. In law this is no different than tampering with the evidence, which can then result in the validity of the evidence being challenged in a courtroom.” The SImPLE technology addresses the issue by using a forensically sound approach to viewing and, where necessary, extraction of data for presentation as evidence in court.
In addition to ECU’s development capabilities, WA Police have been able to take advantage of the expert skills set of ECU researchers who keep the system running and up to date in a rapidly changing field.
The SImPLE technology, which has been maintained, tested and developed with full involvement of WA Police, is now in the process of being commercialised. Whilst SImPLE was developed for law enforcement, the technology could be readily used in corporate IT governance and border security situations.
The success of the SImPLE project has seen ECU and WA Police continue their collaborative work with new digital forensic projects to further resolve criminal activities and increase community safety.
In 2015, the SImPLE project represented WA at the 2015 National iAwards after being named state finalists at the prestigious WAiTTA Incite Awards. These awards showcase the best in innovation and research in information and communication technology from around Australia. Projects from ECU have been named finalists or won a WAiTTA Incite Award for the last four years.
To find out more information regarding SImPLE technology please contact THE LINK team on: [email protected] or telephone 0863 042 867.