Call for Evidence
The House of Lords Science and Technology
Committee has appointed Sub-Committee II, under the chairmanship
of Lord Craig of Radley, to conduct an enquiry into the use of
digital images as evidence.
Because digital images are easy to copy
and it may be difficult to distinguish a copy, or a copy which
has been "doctored", from the original, concern has
been raised over their use as evidence. As analogue systems are
being displaced by digital ones and the investment in digital
technology for image capture and signal processing increases,
it is important that any concerns over the use of this technology
be addressed now if wise investment decisions are to be made.
The enquiry will examine the need for
any special measures to ensure the integrity and authenticity
of digital images. It will consider if any measures are necessary
to ensure that modern image processing technologies, such as compression
and enhancement techniques when applied to either digital or analogue
images, are acceptable in court. It will also examine the implications
of video surveillance technologies for civil liberties.
The Sub-Committee invites written submissions
on all matters relevant to this topic, but in particular on the
questions listed below, with a view to making a report to the
House of Lords early in 1998.
1. What is the current and forecast future
use of digital technology for image collection, storage and transmission?
What is its use by the courts and the legal profession? What is
the state of the art of image manipulation?
2. Does the ease of copying, manipulating
and tampering with digital images, and the consequent difficulties
in maintaining an audit trail, mean they should be treated differently
when used as evidence?
3. Would special measures to authenticate
digital images, eg watermarking, increase their utility as evidence?
What would be the preferred practical measure?
4. Under what circumstances and with
what controls should modified or enhanced images be used as evidence?
5. Do technologies which compress data
or use error correction technology when transmitting it raise
special problems ?
6. Do surveillance cameras, particularly
if used in conjunction with image tracking software, threaten
7. Should there be statutory controls
on the placement and use of surveillance cameras and release of
information from them?
8. Should further advice or training
be provided to law enforcement officers and the courts on the
technical limitations of this technology?
9. Is there the need for special measures
to control the publication of modified images by the media?