Try as I might to avoid otherwise, I got sucked into the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial vortex yesterday when I walked by the TV with the trial on (my wife was watching it, I swear!) and I saw a “metadata expert” testifying about Amber Heard photo metadata.
For the record, I’m not taking any sides in this case, except to say (based on what I’ve read and heard) there’s been plenty of evidence to make both Amber and Johnny look bad. As Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
But I did take notice of the analysis of the Amber Heard photo metadata where the expert (Norbert Neumeister – great name for a forensic expert, BTW) was reviewing the Exchangeable image file (EXIF) format of the photos showing evidence of bruising. As Neumeister observed in his testimony (captured here by Law & Crime Network and illustrated above), the software associated with the first photo of bruising on her face shows “Photos 3.0” – a photo editing software program – instead of the iOS version associated with the iPhone 6. This indicates the photo was edited.
That doesn’t mean the bruise didn’t happen, just that the photo can’t be authenticated as originally taken from the iPhone. Again, I’m not taking sides here, just pointing out a forensic analysis.
Back in 2020, Craig Ball wrote a terrific post about EXIF metadata titled The Metadata Vanishes (which I covered here), which discusses the EXIF data in more detail, including what to do and not do when looking to preserve that data when copying or transmitting photos with EXIF data. Great stuff! And important to fully understand the story about EXIF data.
An eDiscovery professional seeing “metadata expert” on the screen is like a dog seeing a squirrel in the yard – I had to stop and check it out. Life imitates…forensics and eDiscovery!
So, what do you think? Were you interested in the Amber Heard photo metadata discussion as well? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
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