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An Inconclusive Digital Audio Authenticity Examination: A Unique Case


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Bruce E. Koenig
12115 Sangsters Court
Clifton, VA 20124-1947


Abstract:  This case report sets forth an authenticity examination of 35 encrypted, proprietary-format digital audio files containing recorded telephone conversations between two codefendants in a criminal matter. The codefendant who recorded the conversations did so on a recording system he developed; additionally, he was both a forensic audio authenticity examiner, who had published and presented in the field, and was the head of a professional audio society’s writing group for authenticity standards. The authors conducted the examination of the recordings following nine laboratory steps of the peer-reviewed and published 11-step digital audio authenticity protocol. Based considerably on the codefendant’s direct involvement with the development of the encrypted audio format, his experience in the field of forensic audio authenticity analysis, and the ease with which the audio files could be accessed, converted, edited in the gap areas, and reconstructed in such a way that the processes were undetected, the authors concluded that the recordings could not be scientifically authenticated through accepted forensic practices.